I knew it would end messily with Tom Daley

 

Share
Related Topics

I have a difficult time saying no to things. This has got me into a lot of trouble in the past. It has also, I have to admit, got me into some very interesting situations. I covered the Beijing Olympics for The Independent back in 2008 and I spent a very enjoyable day watching the high diving. That was Tom Daley's first Olympics, and I remember being astonished at how young he was. Little did I know that, five years later, I would be standing on the 10-metre board with the very same Tom Daley, both of us about to go off – one slightly more elegantly than the other. But Tom will improve, I'm sure … he's only young.

Yes, dear reader, cover your eyes, because I have agreed to appear on ITV's new Saturday night show Splash! in which "celebrities" are taught to dive by Daley and a team of trainers, before performing live in front of the nation. When my agent got the request she emailed it through to me with a forceful "Presume this is a No?". I emailed her back to say otherwise. For I have a secret diving history.

When I was a kid, my dad would endlessly try to teach me to do a "splash-free dive" and we would often go on picnics to secluded river valleys in Lebanon where we would jump off rocks into ice-cold pools. Every summer I go to Canada where I continue the family tradition by encouraging my kids to hurl themselves off cliffs into the lake with me. From any real height, I tend to jump rather than dive, and it was this that led me to accept the Splash! invitation. Every year, as I'm standing on the top of some Canadian cliff trying to make myself jump, some cocky little six- year-old barges past me and does an impressive flip. I am getting on and, before my cliff-jumping days come to an end, I want, just once, to be able to pull off my own spectacular trick for the floating audience of boaters below – plus I'm a bit of a show-off and rather relish the opportunity of testing my mettle in a live situation.

It has not been easy: the speed at which you hit the water from the top board is 40 miles an hour and, if you have your arms in the wrong place, then you know about it. When training, the pool has a machine that can force air into the water and "soften" the landing; this is not an option during competition, however. So far, I have not been given the tiny towel that divers carry so that they can dry their thighs to get a better grip in some tricky move … somehow, I don't think that this will be my main problem.

I have had several sleepless nights in which I imagine myself in the spotlight, sequinned up, with the crowd booing as I cave in and refuse to jump. Eventually, Vernon Kay, in embarrassing shorts, pulls out a handgun and forces me off the board and I plummet to my doom. My big night is next Saturday. If you are a fan of diving, cheese or tragedy then you might want to tune in.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal  

What is 4Chan? And why does it threaten women like Emma Watson?

Memphis Barker
Chuka Umunna was elected MP for Streatham in 2010  

Could flirty Chuka Umunna be worth a punt for Labour’s top job?

Matthew Norman
Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world