The Fall Guy - Tom Daley: A profile
A local hero, Plymouth-born Daley has the unwavering support of his hometown.
The son of Debbie and Robert Daley, Tom has two brothers, William and Ben. Nicknamed ‘Tom the Bomb’, the 18-year-old began diving at Central Park Pool at the age of eight.
Spotted by a coach while taking part in regular diving lessons, Daley was put into a competitive squad in 2002. He entered his first competition at the National Novice Championships in April 2003, where he won a silver medal in the eight/nine-year-old boys’ category.
In June 2004, aged 10, he won the National Junior Boys Platform title, becoming the youngest ever under-18 National Champion.
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The best diver in Britain for his age, he took gold in 2005 at the Australian Junior Elite Championships.
At the end of 2007 he was voted BBC Young Sports Person of the Year, following in the footsteps of Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Andy Murray.
Upon winning the award he told the BBC: "My biggest dream is to get a gold at the 2012 Olympics in front of a home crowd in London.
"It's just everyone's dream when they are a little kid, everyone wants to be an Olympian and get an Olympic gold medal."
It was an accolade he would go on to achieve twice more - in 2009, after his success at the World Championships, and then again in 2010, after bringing back two gold medals from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
In 2007 Tom also won two titles at the Senior National Diving Championships in Sheffield. He secured two top 10 scores to win the 10m platform individual event, and also triumphed in the 10m synchro event with his partner Callum Johnstone.
After a last-minute call up he also reached the final of the 2007 Diving World Series, where he was up against experienced divers twice his age. Despite this, he claimed fourth place.
Daley attracted a huge profile after bursting on the international scene four years ago, when he made his Olympic debut in Beijing as a 14-year-old. There he was a Games finalist.
Earlier that year he had been crowned the youngest ever British Champion, and had won Bronze at the World Cup in the Synchronised platform. He finished seventh in the individual platform, thus qualifying for the 2008 Olympics.
In 2008 Daley also became European Champion – an accolade he would earn again in 2012.
In 2009 Daley added World Champion to his list of awards, and picked up the South West Sports Personality of the Year Award.
That year the 15-year-old Daley enrolled at fee-charging Plymouth College after receiving a scholarship.
The youngster said his life was being made a misery at Eggbuckland Community College, also in Plymouth, where he said he suffered childish name-calling.
Throughout his school years, the star diver told the Guardian in 2010, he did an hour-and-a-half of homework, then trained for four hours in the gym and the pool, before coming home to do more homework.
On Tuesday and Friday mornings he trained for two hours before school, and on Saturday mornings trained again for three hours, before doing homework all afternoon.
In 2010 Daley reigned supreme at the Commonwealth Games, and a portrait of the diver on his favourite Devon beach went on show at the National Portrait Gallery.
In May 2011, Daley’s father died after losing his battle with brain cancer. The diver’s source of inspiration, Daley wrote of his dad in his book: "As I climb out of the water, I always think about Dad.
“He was at almost every training session and competition that I did, until he died last May, and every time I train I expect to see him sitting by the poolside, grinning and cracking jokes, making everyone around him laugh.
"He was not only my dad; he was my best friend, sounding board, taxi driver and biggest champion."
But publicly Daley continued to show strength and motivation. That summer he was the face of 'Get Set, Go Free', a sports campaign aimed at encouraging people to try out a range of activities for free.
In January this year Daley was pulled out of the British Gas National Cup in order to rest his injured thumb. He injured himself when he missed an entry to one of his dives in training, which led to part of his thumb becoming bruised.
A month later Madame Tussauds in London unveiled waxwork of the diver, suspended mid-dive four metres above the ground on a specially-created set. Daley said it was an “honour” to appear alongside so many sporting legends.
February also saw the diver resolve a public feud with Russian coach Alexei Evangulov, who had previously questioned Daley’s commitment to his Olympic dream.
The coach had warned Daley his media commitments were jeopardising his hopes of an Olympic medal, and that his Chinese rivals “trained three times harder”.
In July 2011 Daley and his partner Peter Waterfield finished sixth-place in the men's 10m synchro final at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai. The duo blamed lack of practise, due to the latter's illness.
But Daley has celebrated great success in the year to date. He kicked off 2012 by starring in a spoof music video alongside his fellow teammates, in which he danced and lip-synced to LMFAO's Sexy And I Know It on an Australian beach.
In March he collected his third silver medal of this year's FINA Diving World Series. He had previously taken silver in the Beijing and Dubai competitions.
Later that month Daley, who is understood to do 12 training sessions a week at Plymouth Life Centre, scored straight As in his A-level exams, proving he had not neglected his school work in favour of the pool.
And in April Daley claimed gold in the final World Series in Tijuana, Mexico. After three consecutive individual platform silvers at the series events in Dubai, Beijing and Moscow, he finally got the medal he wanted with 562.85 points.
Later that month Daley and Waterfield came fifth in the platform synchro on the opening day of the World Series event in Moscow.
In May the youngster added the European Championship title to the World Series crown he had won the month previous.
He also set a new personal best of 565.05 points on his way to reclaiming the title he first won as a 13-year-old.
Later that month the diver added iPhone app game to his Madame Tussauds waxwork and National Portrait Gallery image.
The youngster launched Tom Daley Dive, which within two days was the 58th most downloaded free app from the Apple store.
The following month Daley made an emotional return to the Sheffield pool where his father, Rob, last watched him compete.
There he won the national title in the individual 10m platform for the first time since 2009, and confirmed his place at the Olympic Games.
He had to settle for fourth place in the synchro with Peter Waterfield at the end of July. Daley said that in light of the result he was more determined than ever to win a medal in the individual competition.