Tokyo 2020 – “Hit rock bottom” – Jack Laugher reveals he almost stopped diving, before bronze in Tokyo

Jack Laugher says he almost gave up the sport after hitting “rock bottom” and falling asleep crying, but says he feels again after winning Olympic bronze in diving at Tokyo 2020.

The 26-year-old returned to his best as he challenged Chinese pair Xie Siyi and Wang Zongyuan in the 3m springboard final, finishing third behind them.

But Laugher has struggled since winning synchronized silver and gold at Rio 2016, and had to overcome adversity to become Britain’s most successful Olympic diver.

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“I finished the set, but for me it was more than a piece of metal around my neck,” he told Eurosport.

I had a very difficult few years after the World Championships and I failed on the biggest stage when I could have been the World Champion, making such a crucial mistake it really cost me my confidence. me, my self-esteem, my anxiety around training, competition too.

“Today, I feel like I got it back. I feel like we worked so hard with my psychologist, my trainer, my friends, my family and I felt like I was me today, really.

“It’s such a technical and powerful sport at the same time, you put so much strength into the board but you have to count the somersaults and if you’re like me I had no confidence in myself guessing where I was. was, having no idea and I was making the same mistake over and over again.

“Honestly, I fell asleep crying. I have hit rock bottom, I want, and today is redemption. I feel good, I feel back to normal, you need that 100% confidence and I think it will give me confidence back. “

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Laugher says the problem was getting so serious that he almost stopped it in the months leading up to the Games: “I hardly did and wanted to quit this year on several occasions. It’s really, really hard, but I’ve worked with psychologists, getting everything back to basics and back to what’s just you.

It took a while, it took a lot of bad days, a lot of sleepless nights, but I feel like I’m back. I had a lot of pressure before this competition, and that’s the problem too. I put so much pressure on myself because I know how good I can be and when you don’t consistently hit those levels it destroys you. I feel like it’s in the past now. I got my mojo back.

Laugher admitted that what he was going through was similar to that of Simone Biles struggling with the so-called ‘twisties’, which forced her to withdraw from every gymnastics final before returning to balance beam today.

“It’s exactly the same and that’s why I’ve been really supporting Simone for so long, I don’t know her, I’ve never met her, but to see someone go through the exact same thing as me, I I fully understand how difficult this can be.

“When you’re at the top of your game the wait is on you, all of a sudden you lose such great motor skills, it’s such a small thing that can go wrong, but when you have to do it on the big one scene, it’s terrifying.

“It destroys your sanity, it destroys your self-confidence, and that’s what we need when we go out. We have to be confident, we have to be strong and there is no way you can do it. It’s so difficult, I wish him all the best, I’ve been through a similar thing and it’s getting better.

Watch every must-see moment live from Tokyo 2020 on Eurosport, the Eurosport app and discovery +. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.

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