The STYLE magazine in the London Times featured Beth Tweddle and Tom Daley today:
Tom Daley, Diver (bottom right)Born practically yesterday (1994), the diving prodigy from Plymouth is the youngest Briton to qualify for Beijing. He might be the puppy of the pack, but he’s more than the team mascot. He won gold at the European Swimming Championships in March and silver at the FINA Diving World Series event in May. “He’s tough, ambitious, perfectly built and has no fear of his opponents,” says the Sunday Times sports correspondent Andrew Longmore. “It certainly wouldn’t be the biggest shock if he got a medal in Beijing.”
Daley started diving when he was eight, after watching other people in his local pool. While his parents are his “support system” (Daley’s father left his job to chaperone his son), this is by no means pushy parenting. “Normally, it’s me standing by the door saying, ‘Come on, Dad, hurry up,’ ” he says. But then, your average teenager he is not. “Yeah, my friends are into drinking,” he says through braces. “I don’t think it’s cool. You learn from other people’s mistakes.”
With a game plan that includes the next five Olympics and an ambition to retire at 30 to become a television presenter, it might seem as if Daley has bypassed his childhood. Not quite — look out for his lucky monkey sitting poolside in Beijing.
Beth Tweddle, Gymnast (Top Right)
“Without question, she is the best British gymnast ever,” says Vera Atkinson, head of media for British Gymnastics. Why?
With her trademark tricky routines on the asymmetric bars, Tweddle, 23, was the first ever British competitor to win a world gold medal, in 2006, at the World Gymnastics Championships. Despite injuries, the sports-science graduate from Cheshire has been British champion seven times. Her boundless energy got her into gymnastics, aged seven. Within a year, she was second in the country. “I have a strong head and an ordered mind,” she says. “I can be calm under pressure.” Her mantra? “Anything is possible.”
To unwind, Tweddle loves clubbing and says she offloads excess energy by tidying her bedroom. Her boyfriend knows training is her priority. “It suits him quite well,” she says. “He gets his own life and doesn’t have a clingy girlfriend.”
Most gymnasts compete at 60%-80% of their capacity, says Atkinson, but Tweddle is often close to 90%-100%. “There will be blood, sweat and tears in Beijing,” she says. “At the end of day, it will be whoever is closest to perfection.”
*EDIT* The title is supposed to be Precociously. Sorry! *