One dive was all it took. Almost two weeks had passed since Tom Daley won synchro gold with Dan Goodfellow, enough time to knit a medal bag and a fetching cardigan that has no place in the Tokyo heat. But in a flash and a gentle splash he announced himself as a serious medal threat in the men’s 10m final.
Daley’s opening dive drew nines from the judges and put a score of 98.60 on the board, enough for second place behind China’s Cao Yuan. After three dives of six Daley led, narrowly, and only his failure to contain the splash of his fourth hurt a near-faultless display as he settled for bronze behind the immaculate winner Cao and his teammate Yang Jian.
Daley brought his A-game. In between dives as his rivals hit the hot tub, Daley sat a chair draped in a Union Jack towel and stared straight ahead. Then he stretched before the walk up the concrete stairs, one he has done thousands of times but which must tingle the nerves all alone in an Olympic final.
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