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

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

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

John Rentoul
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...