When the two won the gold medal on the men’s 10m platform in July, it was the first Olympic medal of Li Young’s career and Daley’s third Olympic medal. The latter also won a bronze medal on the 10m platform in Tokyo.
For Li, followed by celebrations and media opportunities and the whirlwind of holidays; the pleasure of winning the Olympic gold medal has not faded, but the return of his ruthless training program is returning him to reality.
“I still find it weird to go back to the training ground. I thought:’Do I really want to be here? It’s really hard,'” Li said.
“In any sport, the preseason is not easy. This is where you get back to fitness. It’s scary, but I only know that I need to overcome this, get back in shape, and then I will feel good, and then I can set goals. So I am not in a hurry to draw any conclusions.”
In addition to the preseason challenges, Lee did it all without Daley.
The British team trained and competed together in the first three years of the Olympic Games and formed an undefeated partnership throughout 2021.
But it is not clear whether the two will continue to compete together. Lee said that he did not want to “entangle” the 27-year-old Daly to make a decision during his time with husband and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black in North America.
“For the past three years, I like to train with Tom, it feels really flat without him,” Li added.
“We get along very well, and we have indeed trained together in the past three years. Everything we do, we do together. Because obviously there is synchronization, we are trying to build that kind of bond that we don’t have to think about. , All of this is very telepathic.”
Guardian Gold Medal
Between training, housekeeping and looking for a new rental house, Li added that he is still in the “Cloud Nine” of the Tokyo Olympics-his first Olympic Games.
Although most of his medals are stored in the cabinet of his parents’ home, Olympic gold medals rarely leave him.
“I think it needs it no matter where I am,” Li said. “I let people touch it, I let people wear it, I let people bear the weight, but I always hold the ribbon itself very well because if they drop it, then I will hold it. So it hasn’t gotten one yet. dent.
“Tom told me-because obviously he won a lot of medals, and many of his medals were eliminated-he said that every chip is telling a story, so don’t look at it in a negative way, but more positive and cool. the way.”
‘I can’t believe I did this’
In order to win the gold medal in the men’s 10-meter double stage, Li had to stay nervous as he entered the wire rope finals.
Daly and Li lead the Chinese duo Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by less than two points. When the critical moment came, they won the gold medal with four flawless half-air churns.
This is the first gold medal that Britain has won in this event, ending China’s record of winning the championship since 2000.
“It’s interesting looking back,” Li said. “Every once in a while, I see a video of me being tagged on Instagram or anywhere else. This is my dive or my reaction to Tom. I can’t believe I did it.
“I have had some bad moments in this sport. I just bottled it-the last dive. I just didn’t do what I had to do. Instead, I rolled and dived on my back, which caused a lot of A big sensation, and then didn’t get a good score, and then didn’t make the podium.
“But you know I really did it. When it really relies on the world’s largest sports arena, Tom and I… This is obviously the best moment in my life.”
This begs the question: how did he successfully complete the best dive of his career when it was most important?
“The one thing I changed—I think the pandemic actually helped—is the mentality, my mental strength,” Li said.
“My stamina is always there; I can dive. I know I can do well because I do it in training. But in the game, it’s completely mental. You have to be without a doubt. In your mind, you cannot think before diving.”
This helps to take care of his performance. As for his partner, Lee said he never doubted that Daly, one of the spokespersons of the British Olympic movement for the past 13 years, made his debut at the age of 14.
“He is the only sync partner I have ever met: I know he is good,” Li said.
“I know I can rely on him because he is so good…Try to stay in the moment, think about what I’m doing now, at the time, simplify everything in my mind-this is the main thing to really improve In my diving career. This helped me reach Tom Daley’s level and won the gold medal with him.”
But slowly, Lee’s focus will shift to setting goals for next year—especially the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
Although the spotlight for the Olympics has dimmed, preparations and routines are still as tense as ever.