Tom Daley has the right attitude to get him to the top – and won’t compete a dive unless he knows he can get a 10 in it.
The 16-year-old, who scored seven perfect 10s – for the second time in his career – to take individual gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi last year, is aiming for perfection in 2012.
‘I wouldn’t like to compete a dive unless I know I can get a 10 on it’ said Tom, reflecting on his approach to winning a medal in 2012. ‘That’s what my theory is. Sometimes in a competition you know that you have to score a 10 to win, but if you’ve never scored it or done it in training then you would stand on the end of the board thinking that you can’t do it. You have to go into it believing that you can score a 10 on every dive that you do.’
Tom, who for many years was unable to practise some of the more difficult dives because of his age, instead developed a reputation for a high level of execution. He will hope to rely on this strength while expanding his dive list in 2011 to include two new dives in preparation for 2012. These new moves he plans to road test at the national championships before working them into his routine to defend his world title in Shanghai in July. The world championships will form part of the qualification process for the Olympics.
‘It’s a massive year,’ Tom said. ‘This is where I’m going to get my experience from. I have to use my new dives as much as possible because next year I’ll only have a few competitions before the Olympics.’
If he does manage to perfect the two new dives, Tom will be able to rival the best in the world not just in terms of execution, but also difficulty. ‘As far as I know it will be the equal hardest that anyone will be doing, though this year you could well see some Chinese diver coming out and doing the most insane list. The way diving has come on – in the last five years even – is insane. The winning score at the Beijing Olympics was 538, at the world championships in Rome  it was 539 but then to go into the World Cup it went up to 567. Everyone is really whacking out massive degrees of difficulty.’