British diver Tom Daley rode a personal best dive all the way to a silver medal in the individual 10m platform competition at the European Championships in Budapest on Sunday. He had earlier won a gold medal for the 10m synchronized dive with partner Matty Lee. But, the Olympian told Team GB his biggest reward awaited him back home.
“I’ve always said that this is a great medal to win but my biggest medal is waiting at home for me – my son and my husband – so I’m very excited to get back to them,” Daley said. “I get to enjoy diving, enjoy performing and competing but what this year has really taught us is what’s important – friends, family and everyone staying healthy.”
Fresh off his double gold medal performance at the World Cup, Daley was hoping to keep his winning streak alive as he prepares to compete in the Tokyo Summer Olympics. He started off well in the individual competition, but fell to fifth place after a poor second-round dive. He needed a stellar third and fourth dive to medal, and he more than delivered.
“I started off really strongly but the second dive was a little bit too strong and I landed slightly over from vertical,” Daley said. “One thing I’ve learned from my years in diving is it’s not over until it’s over. I was way down the rankings but I knew that I could pull it back – I just had to stay in the moment, stay present, stay focused.”
His third dive was a Armistand Back 3 Somersaults Pike that scored a 99.75 from the judges, but Daley saved his best for last. His Forward 4.5 Somersaults Tuck was simply outstounding, scoring 109.15 on a day when no other diver cleared 100 points. The final dive, which was the highest scoring single dive of his career, moved him back into second place and put a silver medal around his neck.
Despite his victorious performance in Budapest, the champion’s heart was back home with his husband, Dustin Lance Black, and their son, Robby. While husband and son remained in London, that didn’t mean they couldn’t watch the competition. Daley posted video to Instagram showing Robbie reacting gleefully as his dad waved after winning gold for the synchronized competition.
“Swipe to see how excited Robbie was!” Daley wrote to the post below.
Daley has been diving at an international level for the United Kingdom since he was a young teen. He’s won bronze twice at the Olympic Games and keeps adding medals at the international level.
Daley said he was pleased with his performances, but he remains focused on the upcoming Olympics.
“I’m excited for the Olympics this summer because I’m going to go there and enjoy it, like I did in Beijing 2008 without all that pressure that I put on myself later in my career,” Daley said.
He also knows that his mental disposition will be just as important in competition, maybe even more so, which is why his support from back home is so important.
“No matter how well you’ve trained, what ends up happening in the Olympic Games is all here [points to head]. If you don’t have it there, it’s over,” Daley said, adding he was “excited to go there and have some fun.”