Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'I Used to Think about Nothing but Diving ... Now I See Robbie Smile and He's Better Than Any Medal' Tom Daley on How Fatherhood Helped Him Fight Back from Career-Threatening Injury and Illness to the Brink of World No1

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'I Used to Think about Nothing but Diving ... Now I See Robbie Smile and He's Better Than Any Medal' Tom Daley on How Fatherhood Helped Him Fight Back from Career-Threatening Injury and Illness to the Brink of World No1

Article excerpt

Byline: DIVING Matt Majendie Sports Correspondent

CONCUSSION, pneumonia, a glandular fever-esque illness and a shin problem; last season was a never-ending catalogue of physical setbacks for Tom Daley.

The career of an athlete, who burst onto the diving world to become national champion as a 10-year-old, looked to be drawing to a close.

"I definitely felt it was game over," said Daley, reflecting on last year. "It just seemed things were getting worse and worse and worse. And if you'd asked me last year, I would have said I was done and that I've got nothing left."

Yet his form and fitness have been transformed and last month the 24-year-old (right) enjoyed a first World Series gold for four years in the platform event in Montreal.

It also proved the most successful World Series of his career, with two further medals.

Ahead of the season finale in London starting today at a pool where he trains and won a first Olympic medal, Daley is on the brink of ending the year as world No1, much to his surprise.

"I've had a new lease of life and really all I needed was a long break," he said. "Now I'm diving better and more consistently than I've ever dived before. I feel refreshed and the break has made me a different athlete."

His resurgence has also been aided by doing gyrotonics, a system of exercise which has improved his mobility and helped address his long-term hip problems.

The result has been greater movement, functionality and, hence, performance.

But for Daley it has also been as much about the mind as the body, the former aided by becoming a parent to Robbie, who is approaching his first birthday.

"Before, I was so in my head about everything," he said. "Take the Rio Olympics, I just focused on diving and I couldn't think about anything else. Now I have Robbie to look after and I'm always met by a smiling face. …

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