Diving: Veteran diver Greg Louganis praises Tom Daley

 

This afternoon, four-time Olympic champion Greg Louganis will be just metres away, watching from the stands, as the 18-year-old Briton, who he prefers to call Thomas, competes in the men’s synchronised event alongside Pete Waterfield.

“I remember meeting Thomas at an event in Arizona and he was either injured or too tired so didn’t compete in the platform but in the springboard,” said Louganis. “I’d heard a lot about him and wanted to meet him.”

Louganis, though, insists it was not a case of passing on advice about what it takes to be an Olympic champion but “just a chat”.

There are parallels between the pair despite it being nearly a quarter of a century since Louganis’s finest hour. He claimed gold at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul after cracking his head on the diving board qualifying for the 3m springboard event.

After having his cut head stitched up and a conversation with his coach, Louganis decided to continue. “My coach knew my confidence was shot to pieces after that incident but he said ‘I know you don’t believe in yourself but I believe in you so believe in me’. That helped me through.”

In the case of Daley, his father Rob, his most trusted guide, will not be there for his two competitions — he will also go for gold in the individual event — having passed away in May last year following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Daley’s personal battles for these Games are considerably more brutal than what Louganis encountered 24 years ago but the American believes they share a similar mental strength from their setbacks.

“It’s so unfortunate what happened with his father,” said Louganis. “I can’t pretend to know him but what he has been through has been hard.”

The area where Louganis can best understand Daley is in terms of the pressures of being a home athlete. In 1984 in Los Angeles, Louganis was one of the flagship American stars expected to win gold. “It was a challenge as you could be affected by the slightest comment,” said the 52-year-old, who went on to win two golds in Los Angeles.

“However well intended, it could get into your head. People can say the dumbest things in the moment.

Thomas just needs to block that out.”

Looking ahead to the synchro event, Louganis said: “The British guys have a wonderful chance. What it comes down to is who delivers.”

Daley and Waterfield boast very different body shapes — Daley is four inches taller than Waterfield, who is 13 years his senior — but Louganis believes they can overcome that in their quest for gold.

“Ideally in diving, you want to have very similar body types,” he said. “If not, it becomes more challenging.

But clearly they’ve been good enough to overcome that judging by their results.”

Daley and Waterfield are the 2012 World Series champions, although their Chinese rivals are expected to  win both 10m platform golds.

News
Alex Salmond said he accepted 'the democratic verdict of the people'
newsSNP leader says Scotland must move forward as 'one nation'
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week