‘It’s a dream come true,’ says Olympic champion Jack as he sets his sights on double gold

Olympic diving champions Jack Laugher and Chris Mears

Olympic diving champions Jack Laugher and Chris Mears

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Olympic champion Jack Laugher said his dream has come true after he and diving partner Chris Mears won gold in the 3m springboard.

And now the 21-year-old from Ripon is aiming to become a double Olympic champion when he competes in the individual 3m event on Monday.

The duo won Great Britain’s first ever diving gold medal at an Olympic Games when they triumphed on Wednesday night.

And after taking some time to stare at the giant gold medallion hanging around his neck, Jack admitted their achievement will really take some getting used to.

“The dream has happened and it’s paid off. We’re ecstatic with how we’ve done,” he said.

“It’s fantastic to win Britain’s first Olympic gold in diving. We only found out that it was the first gold medal before the podium.

“It’s one of the first on springboard as well so we’re so overwhelmed with what we’ve done here, what we’ve done this year, especially with all the setbacks and with the massive risk of putting in that hard dive into our list.

“We enjoy diving in the rain. We love it.

“Last time in Brazil when we were here we got a couple of days where it rained and we really enjoy it here.

“So we took on the English weather with the wind and the rain and the cloudiness but we embraced it.

“We embraced all the different things that were put in front of us and we’ve come out with the medal so we’re really happy.”

Tears streamed down their cheeks after the six dives that saw them to gold in Rio but such elation hadn’t looked possible at one stage.

Chris miraculously recovered from a life-threatening illness in 2009 to participate at London 2012, which then turned out to be the scene of Jack’s lowest point in the sport, with one bad dive that went viral for the wrong reasons.

The years between then and now not only saw the birth of their almost telepathic partnership and friendship but the building of a diving arsenal that prepared them for a shot at Olympic gold.

Their “triple out” dive – a forward two-and-a-half somersault with three twists known as the most difficult dive in the world on 3m – proved to be vital.

Incredibly, the Olympic final was the first international championship the pair had ever won.

It was fitting that they did so in utterly British conditions as the rain slashed down at the Aquatics Centre.

A total score of 454.32 was enough to pip America’s Mike Hixon and Sam Dorman to the gold, while China’s previously unbeatable pair of Kai Qin and Yuan Cao finished with bronze.

Chris and Jack were a picture of concentration throughout and it is that belief and focus that Mears believes carried them through.

“We’d been looking pretty damn good in training. As you can see the conditions are a big thing here,” he added.

“One minute you can be diving in sunshine, then it’s cloudy, then it’s raining and it’s really windy, so there are a lot of factors that can throw people off.

“We didn’t let that phase us out there, we did our thing and we came out on top.

“The Americans definitely put the pressure on us. I recognised they had done a really sick front. I knew they really nailed it and they were quite vocal about it and quite emotional.

“But we just stayed in our zone. We didn’t know how many points we needed because I wasn’t concentrating on that.

“All I concentrated on was landing on my head on my dive and I did that. And so did Jack, so we came out on top.

“London changed me as a person and I became more mature for these Games. I was in a different position in these Games to actual get a medal but I have come from death’s door to here so I am pretty proud.”

Jack admits it will be difficult to come down from the adrenalin rush of being crowned Olympic champion.

“A lot of sleep, a lot of food and probably cry a bit more,” he added.

“I have the individual coming soon so I have to refocus for that but Chris is done now; one competition, one gold.

“Two golds would be the most unbelievable thing in the entire world but to come away with one is something that I knew I could do but it just doesn’t seem real, it’s ridiculous.”

l Aldi is the first official supermarket partner of Team GB and has been championing our nation’s extraordinary athletes on their Road to Rio. For more information visit aldi.co.uk.

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