Tom Daley told to concentrate on diving as Splash! is panned

Jan 8, 2013

Reality TV diving show did not impress the head of British Swimming, or TV reviewers


OLYMPIC bronze medallist Tom Daley, whose bizarre celebrity diving programme Splash! made waves at the weekend, has attracted yet more criticism, this time from British Swimming, which has warned him to not let his commercial commitments distract him from training.

Daley acts as a mentor on the reality TV show, which debuted on Saturday. Although it pulled in more than 6 million viewers it was roundly panned by the critics. The Daily Telegraph described it as "utterly dreadful" while The Guardian said it fell into the "so bad it's good" category.

Now David Sparkes, chief executive of British Swimming, has weighed in and made it clear where Daley's priorities should lie.

"You can rest assured the next Chinese diving superstar will not have such distractions from training," Sparkes told the Daily Mail. "He should look at the example of skaters Torvill and Dean who waited until the end of their competitive careers before doing such programmes. I'm concerned Tom is putting the cart before the horse and I've expressed those concerns to his agent."

It’s not the first time the teenage diver has been given such a warning. Last year British Diving performance director Alexei Evangulov said the youngster's media and sponsorship commitments could affect his chances at the Olympics. In the end Daley came third in the 10m competition.

Daley's agent Jamie Cunningham defended his charge, but appeared to acknowledge that his TV debut had not been a glittering success. "Whatever people think about the show, Tom has come across incredibly well," he said. "We would only agree to such an undertaking at a quiet time of the year."

In Splash!, Daley coaches various celebrities as they try to master the art of diving. In the first live episode viewers were treated to the sight of pop singer Jade McEwan in a gold lame bikini and saw overweight comedian Omid Djalili plunge into the water from the 10 metre board. They also watched as Daley tipped actress Helen Lederer off a one-metre springboard and into the water using a mat.

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1. Whilst it's true that his Chinese competitors are not doing things like this, I very much suspect that they are not doing much of anything else at all and are presently throwing away their youth. Is that really what we are asking of our champs? If we ask that of him, we could end up with another Thorpey, who threw in the towel so early as he was sick of a lost life.
2. It's not like he's off clubbing or drinking etc, in fact, he's in the pool doing something very related to his sport and I'm sure getting the odd practice dive in. Perhaps in a more relaxed environment he can be a bit more experimental. As a teacher, I know, the best way to make sure a student knows something is to get him/her to teach it to another. Perhaps he'll end up with a better perspective of what he does.

Why do people continually take pops at Daley? He seems and appears (publicly) to be a pleasant enough young bloke. Are we really that sad a society?