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Jack Laugher

First ever British Diving Gold medallist at the Olympic Games


17 August 2016Jack Laugher snatches silver after almost missing out on final and takes British diving into dreamland

Jack Laugher has taken British diving into dreamland. Before Rio, Britain had won seven medals and no golds in 112 years of Olympic diving competition; in the space of six days Laugher has delivered two medals at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre,following up his gold medal in the synchronised 3m springboard with a silver last on Tuesday in the individual competition.

The 21-year-old, who describes himself as an “ordinary kid from Yorkshire”, has pulled off the extraordinary after finishing as a comfortable runner-up to China’s Yuan Cao with a score of 523.85 to bring up Britain’s 50th medal in Rio. Having become the first British diver to win a diving gold medal at the Olympics together with Chris Mears last week, Laugher has now become the first British diver to win two medals at a single Olympics and the first to win any medal in the individual 3m springboard.

“I will remember this the rest of my life,” Laugher said. “I knew I could medal at these Games. My performances have been on the up since 2013. Doing it is a completely different story. With so many nerves and pressure it is really hard. It is hard to get on the board and do it. This was about holding my composure.”

Laugher: 'I will remember this the rest of my life' CREDIT: REX

Following on from Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow’s bronze medal in the synchronised 10m platform, Britain’s return at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, where the water is once again blue, can get better still with Daley and Tonia Couch still to compete in the individual 10m platform. While Daley has long been the face of British diving, Laugher is now its bonafide superstar.

To mark his accomplishment, the 36 bus that runs Ripon to Harrogate will be renamed in his honour. “It is a nice touch because the it is kind of my life story in a way because I started out in Rippon, then went to Harrogate for diving and ended up in Leeds which is where I live now.”

It is all the more remarkable considering that Laugher only qualified for the final by the skin of his teeth. His semi-final score of 389.40 was only good enough for the 12th and last qualifying place and was his lowest score since London 2012 when he landed botched his final dive.

“For me it was a bit of a shocker,” Laugher said. “It was really hard to reset after gold. It is really hard coming off that mountain top and dropping back down to training at 6am, getting back on the board.

“I made it through and I had luck on my side. That’s when I let loose because I had no pressure, no nerves. It was just me on the diving board.”

The double Olympic medalist almost missed out on a place in the final CREDIT: REX

His coach Adrian Hinchcliffe turned that negative in a positive by challenging Laugher, who won the overall title in the Fina World Series last year, to use the opportunity of diving first in each round to put the pressure upon his rivals. “Applying pressure is something that I like to do,” Laugher said. “It shows everyone that you are in shape.”

That’s what he did from the outset with his list of six dives carrying the highest collective degree of difficulty. Just like he did with Mears, it was high risk, high reward. Straight away, Laugher set an early benchmark with his forward two and a half somersaults, two twists pike that scored 81.60, a mark that was bettered by Yuan.

It soon became a two-horse race: Laugher’s daring brilliance versus Yuan’s technical excellence. Laugher produced the highest marked dive of the competition, 96.6 for his forward four and a half somersaults in the fifth round, but Yuan was more consistent. Laugher could not quite land the entry of his fourth-round, the forward two and a half somersault, three twists pike that allowed Yuan to open up a lead that would prove unassailable winning with a score of 547.60.

That, though, should not detract from Laugher’s achievement as Britain’s most successful ever diver at Britain’s most successful ever Olympics.

Source : Telegraph