Diving bronze for Daley
Daley leaps into the pool to celebrate a surprise bronze
Last Updated: 12/08/12 4:37pm
Tom Daley upset the odds to claim bronze in a controversial and dramatic 10-metre platform final which was won by David Boudia of the USA.
The 18-year-old led by 0.15 points from world champion Qiu Bo and Boudia heading into the final dive.
But while Daley won a single score of 10 for his final back dive, it was lower on difficulty than his rivals to allow Boudia to steal a shock victory.
The upset left Qiu in tears on the poolside while Boudia and Daley both celebrated by jumping into the pool.
For Daley it meant the capture of the last major honour to have eluded him in his decorated young career so far - but only after he was controversially awarded a re-dive on his opening effort.
The Plymouth diver was allowed to re-take his leap after complaining that he was distracted by the camera flashes from his 17,500-strong home support inside the Aquatics Centre.
He then improved his total by 16.2 points but it did not prove decisive in the final outcome as his score of 556.95 was 29.15 points clear of Russia's Victor Minibaev.
The die was cast for a dramatic final from the very beginning when Daley, who almost suffered a shock exit last night when he scraped through in 15th, was awarded a re-dive on his opening effort.
The teen, who lost his father Rob to cancer last May, was initially awarded 7.5s but his coach Andy Banks immediately walked across the pool deck to lodge a protest.
The Aquatics Centre had lit up with camera flashes which Banks had claimed had distracted his young protege.
After a short chat between Daley and a FINA judge he was allowed to return to the tower, with the crowd again warned against flash photography.
Despite the apparent drama Daley's response was nerveless as he grabbed scores of 8.5 and, crucially, added 16.2 points on his initial leap.
It left him third, rather than being second-last, and when he followed it with nines for his favoured, but easiest, inward three-and-a-half somersault the roof was raised on the stadium.
The noise level grew further when Daley got nines for his armstand but at halfway he was in fourth behind surprise leader Boudia, who scraped through last night's first round in the final qualification place.
With the Chinese wedged in between the pressure started to show on them when Daley grabbed nines for his hardest forward four-and-a-half somersaults.
Boudia nervelessly followed that with a 10 before Lin Yue bombed out of contention and Qiu uncharacteristically mis-timed his entry.
More nines for Daley's penultimate back three-and-a-half somersault, which had David Beckham high-fiving with his children in the stands, then sent him top when Boudia and Qiu were just off.
It was by the merest of margins though - just 0.15 points from the deadlocked Qiu and Boudia as the drama levels intensified.
Daley dived first of the trio and won a single 10, but mainly nines, for his simpler reverse three-and-a-half somersault.
The lower degree of difficulty left the door open for his rivals and Boudia pounced with 9.5 for his back dive.
Raging favourite Qiu was then unable to match that with the same dive to leave the crowd roaring and the American, and Daley, in raptures.
Daley was beaming on the podium as he received his bronze medal with none of the crowd having left.
His success came just 14 months after the death of his father following his long battle against cancer. Daley was at his father's bedside when he passed away aged 40.
Robert Daley had been a constant at poolside during his son's career and had pledged to see him compete in London.
Daley told the BBC: "I really wish my dad was here to see that. "It's one of those things I have wanted so long, to compete in front of a home crowd and I wanted it to go the way I wanted it to.
"I went out there and gave it my best shot. I did absolutely everything and with a shaky start having to do a re-dive because of the flash photography.
"That's one downside of the home crowd thing but honestly I'm just so happy. I just can't wait to go and see my family and just have a massive bundle. It's going to be great."
Daley said that he was nervous before his final dive.
"I just went in with the mentality do or die as they say, just go in there, give it my best, put everything into it.
"I didn't have the degree of difficulty in the last round to match these guys so I knew I had to do a good dive.
"To come away with nines, I knew I had a medal and that was solid. For me that was the main aim here, to get a medal."
Daley said he was thrilled to see his coach, Alexei Evangulov, happy.
He added: "At the beginning of the year he was telling me I was fat. I have lost 7.5 kilos. I have done so many changes and everything now has made it worth it. Now I can't wait to go and eat what I like."