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Page last updated at 06:00 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 07:00 UK

Diver Taylor announces retirement

By Caroline Cheese

Leon Taylor (right) and Peter Waterfield
Taylor (right) and Peter Waterfield won diving silver in 2004

Olympic diving silver medallist Leon Taylor has announced his retirement after suffering a back injury.

The 30-year-old was planning to compete at the Beijing Games before quitting.

But he told BBC Sport: "Unfortunately the medics have told me my body is worn out. We looked at all the options but there was nothing I could do."

Taylor and Peter Waterfield claimed Britain's first diving medal since 1960 with silver in the synchronised 10m event at the 2004 Games in Athens.

Interview: Leon Taylor

The pair finished fourth in Sydney four years earlier.

Their withdrawal from this year's Games means 14-year-old Tom Daley and Blake Aldridge are set to take Britain's place in the synchronised event in Beijing.

Taylor acts as a mentor to Daley, who will become Britain's second youngest male Olympian in Beijing.

"I was with Tom at the weekend when he and Blake won gold at the Diving World Series," said Taylor.

"The Chinese divers weren't there but it was still a great performance. They've got a chance of doing well in Beijing but it's a tall order."

Leon Taylor

Daley said: "It's a shame to see Leon retire. I would have loved to have gone up against him in an individual competition but we'll never know the outcome now.

"He's still going to play a very important role as a mentor to me and he's been a massive help to me in my diving career over the past two years."

Cheltenham-born Taylor battled with injury throughout his career, undergoing shoulder surgery four times.

However, as well as claiming Olympic silver, the Sheffield-based diver also won two individual Commonwealth medals.

Taylor successfully recovered from hernia surgery in February but a chronic back injury flared up again to put paid to his hopes of competing in Beijing.

"With the best will in the world, I wasn't able to get anywhere," he said.

"In the end, the only option was to stop doing things that were hurting it - for example, hitting the water at breakneck speed and flipping and spinning and all the things I need to do as a diver.

"I'm pretty functional in most things but my body isn't able to withstand diving anymore."

see also
Injured Taylor out of nationals
02 Jan 08 |  Swimming
Diving's battle of the ages
02 Jan 08 |  Swimming
British divers take silver
14 Aug 04 |  Swimming

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