Jan Moir's view from the sofa: It's all Tom, Tom, Tom… what about his poor partner
08:06 GMT, 31 July 2012
Tom Daley. Look at him. Glistening, as Boris Johnson might say, like a wet boy otter. Like a whelp. Like a leaping porpoise of passion as he flies through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring young man with the freshly waxed knees.
Daley is a teen star, a national hero. And across all channels yesterday, everyone was talk-talk-talking about his big Olympic event: the Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform final.
Could Tom win his first medal Could Tom bag a gold for Team GB The Tom-toms were beating.The Tom-speculation was feverish.
Britain's Tom Daley and the much maligned Peter Waterfield, after their fourth-place finish
But hang on a minute. Aren’t there supposed to be two of them in this thing Of course there is. The clue is in the S-word.
‘In Synchronised, timing is everything,’ was the helpful explanation from Leon Taylor, a former champion diver now commentating for the BBC.
That’s one reason why it must be awful
being Peter Waterfield, Daley’s diving partner, who people keep mixing
up with record producer Pete Waterman.
He is the mystery diving man. For the
scant amount of attention he gets paid, there must be times when Pete is
tempted to stick a feather duster down his trunks, hold his nose and
jump whilst doing Max Wall legs.
Waterfield and Daley in action in the Aquatics Centre
For like the Team GB equestrian members forced to canter in Zara Phillips’s long shadow, you become almost invisible. You disappear into Daley’s watery flume of fame.
Everybody talks about Tom, never about you. Simply not fair. You work just as hard. You body wax just as scrupulously. You produced all those No 1 hits with Kylie and Rick Astley – and still you get ignored. It’s always about the Tom.
‘Let’s talk about Pete before we focus on Tom Daley,’ said Clare Balding at the Aquatics Centre for the BBC. However, her token effort at Pete-ism was followed by a thoroughly creepy Beeb film about 18-year-old Daley, complete with a syrupy voice-over proclaiming the hope that ‘Tom does not go the way of other child stars and fail’ and also the suggestion what we should ‘simply enjoy young Tom while it lasts’.
Eww. No wonder some have suggested that this event should be renamed synchronised perving.
Consider the evidence. The men wear unfeasibly tiny budgie-smugglers, the sort of ultra-skimpy vessels that last saw duty as receptacles for satsumas.
They also all have frog’s legs. Not because their limbs are delightfully soused in garlic butter and garnished with parsley, but because they are all thigh and no ankle.
While their physiques are testament to an incredible sporting discipline, what is it actually like making those dives Over to you, Leon.
‘It’s almost like being in the womb, the way the water traps and holds you in there.’
Yeah. Emphasis on that ‘almost’.
There is an armpit inspection before most dives, so we can check if the boys have tidied up in there or not. I can report that the Russians and the Germans do shave, the Americans most certainly do not, while the Mexicans sometimes do, but not in the last few weeks.
Our boys are as smooth as peeled
bananas but this did not save them. They lost it all on the fourth dive,
which is perhaps when they looked around and saw a grinning David
Cameron amongst the spectators at the Aquatics Centre. Cue Psycho-type
Teenage weightlifter Zoe Smith set a new British record
For everyone knows that Dave in the crowd is the mark of doom. No one ever wins if he is there, he is the poisoned apple in the orchard of ovations. And so it was to be.
‘No medal today for Tom Daley,’ said the BBC commentator as we put on our traditional ‘It’s the taking part that matters’ faces.
Meanwhile, back to the Clean & Jerk (weightlifting), brilliant Zoe Smith squeaked and wheezed to lift 121kg and set a new British record. This was more than twice her body weight. More than two full bags of cement. More than two Tom Daleys or, should I say, one Tom and a Pete. She also lifted 90kg in The Snatch, so good for her.
I love these tiny Brit she-weightlifters and their giant trainers, who look like Honey Monsters as they fuss over their charges.
British gymnast Louis Smith was overcome with emotion after his bronze medal-winning performance
Elsewhere, the most hopeful remark of the day came from a table tennis bout between China and Austria.
‘This match is just beginning to rock and roll,’ a commentator shouted. As if this wasn’t enough excitement, the BBC cut to Matt Baker on the Pommel Horse at the gymnastics at the Dome. Oh no!
‘I think for him it was just release,’ he said, when asked about gymnast Louis Smith’s tears earlier.
Has Matt learned anything from his disastrous appearance co-hosting the Diamond Jubilee Pageant
Not really. He still touches his earpiece when a producer talks to him. And he still thinks that enthusiasm is an acceptable substitute for expertise.
At the Men’s Gymnastics final, he bawled and hollered about his own feelings of incredulity before informing the public what was going on.
‘This is absolutely extraordinary!’ he shouted. ‘I cannot believe it! I cannot believe it! This is totally unprecedented.’ What is What is ‘Team GB have won a silver medal!’
In fact they hadn’t. After the Japanese team protested they had been too harshly marked, Team GB were demoted to bronze. Thank you. And goodnight.