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Meet Tom Daley

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Profile: Olympic diver Tom Daley

By Ollie Williams

At 5ft 2in, Tom Daley may look up to his rivals physically.

But in terms of sheer ability, British diving's greatest hope can look down from his lofty perch as the current European and British senior men's 10m platform champion.

Daley, born in May 1994, will be just 14 years and 81 days old when the Beijing Games - for which he has qualified - begin.

His Olympic year has already yielded a fistful of gold medals - six at the British Championships in Manchester and another at the Europeans in Eindhoven.

There was just a glint in his eye when I talked to him. He's such a nice guy too

Leon Taylor on Tom Daley
Like Daley's many other medals since he took up the sport, they will hang from his bedroom wall in Plymouth, where he attends Eggbuckland Community College.

His choice of decor does not represent your average 13-year-old's bedroom. The medals sit alongside union jack flags, a picture of the Team GB logo, and a personalised licence plate which reads D11VVE.

Though qualifying for Beijing is a superb achievement, Daley remains focused on 2012.

"My biggest dream would be to get gold in front of a home crowd in London," he told the BBC's Olympic Dreams programme when he was 11.

"Everyone wants to be an Olympian and to get an Olympic gold medal."

Daley, who lives with dad Rob, mum Debbie and two brothers, was introduced to diving by chance at the age of seven.

"I was doing a public session in a swimming pool, saw people diving, and thought I'd like to do that," he said.

"My dad took me down on Saturday mornings and after half a year I got talent spotted out of nowhere."

BBC Sport's Mark Ashenden
Three years later, he was the best diver for his age in Britain and, aged 12, he gained special permission to take part in the Youth Olympics Festival, despite the usual minimum age being 15.

Since then, Daley has racked up both junior and senior titles, both as an individual and with synchro partner Blake Aldridge.

Daley's hero and mentor, the extremely accomplished 30-year-old GB diver Leon Taylor, says Tom has not let such early success go to his head.

"He has that something about him," says Taylor. "I'm not even going to try and define it. Let's call it an X-factor.

"There was just a glint in his eye when I talked to him. He's such a nice guy too. Tom's got a good head on his shoulders and I was really impressed by that."

Tom Daley
Born: 21 May 1994
Will be 14 years and 81 days old when Beijing Games begin
England's youngest ever senior 10m platform champion
BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year 2007
One of the youngster's most treasured possessions is a photo of himself alongside Taylor, posing with the latter's silver medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Daley's other great role model is the cyclist Lance Armstrong, whose book he has read.

Rob Daley, who has given up his job to follow son Tom's exploits, now films every dive at every competition.

Father and son then post the videos on YouTube, where impressed fans have left dozens of encouraging comments.

Daley also lists social networking sites Facebook and Bebo among his pastimes, alongside listening to the likes of Rihanna.

Whether his father will approve of his other ambition - a tattoo of the Olympic rings - remains to be seen.

Daley junior says he may have to wait until London 2012, by which time the decision will be his alone.

Tom Daley is one of the athletes BBC Sport is following as part of the Olympics Dreams series.

You can read regular behind-the-scenes updates on his progress at

see also
Diving's battle of the ages
02 Jan 08 |  Swimming
Olympic Dreams - Tom Daley
03 Oct 07 |  London 2012

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