Diving: One of Britain’s top swimming chiefs has warned diving superstar Tom Daley to curtail his commercial commitments or risk seriously damaging his future Olympic medal prospects.
The 18-year-old launched a new reality TV show called Splash! on Saturday night, which prompted strong words from British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes, who believes that Daley should think about postponing his ventures outside of the sport until the end of his competitive career.
Sparkes said: “Tom is an incredibly talented young man, but he’s yet to achieve his full potential and it’s only going to get harder to achieve that Olympic gold medal as he gets older.
“You can rest assured the next Chinese diving superstar will not have such distractions from training.”
He added: “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.”
The comments echo the warnings issued by British Diving performance director Alexei Evangulov early last year about Daley’s media and sponsorship commitments, which he felt would affect the Plymouth diver’s chances at London 2012.
Daley responded by winning bronze in the men’s 10m platform in London, behind US diver David Boudia and Qiu Bo of China.
Daley’s agent Jamie Cunningham said that British Swimming were aware of Splash! in advance and that the programme was not affecting his training.
“Whatever people think about the show, Tom has come across incredibly well. We would only agree to such an undertaking at a quiet time of the year,” Cunningham said.
“Tom is fully on course to perform at his best at the world championships in the summer having delivered at the Olympic Games and the world juniors that followed, when he helped out British Swimming by competing.”