Four years ago to the date, Jack Laugher exited from the London Olympics in despair after errors in his performance saw him fail in the early stages in the first round of the three-metre springboard event.
Then a young 17-year-old, his nerves got the better of him. Frozen in time he trailed in 27th place and left the Aquatics Centre too upset to utter any words about the bitter disappointment.
The emotional demon inside
But like a professional athlete he his, instead of trying to erase the memories of a turbulent London experience, Laugher insists that he has learned from his mistakes, as his prepare to head into his second Olympics in Rio as a genuine medal contender.
Ever since London, Laughter has seen himself as a frequent medal winner on the World Series circuit and even claimed double bronze at the 2015 World Championships in both the 3m springboard and the 3m synchro with partner Chris Mears.
Laughter told Press Association Sport: “I was 17 years old with little competitive experience, I was riddled with ankle and elbow injuries and mentally I was a kid taking it all in and I got overwhelmed by it all.”
The emotion of “four years” of thoughts of how bad his first Olympic experience was he “wouldn’t have improved” a quick bounce back with year after year of the emotional ride, the “problems” four years ago have been “completely eradicated.”
Emerging from the shadows of British diving star Tom Daley, Laugher’s performances in the World Series have dramatically improved and has made him have an even better chance to top the podium in Rio.
Laugher added: “My track record shows that I can definitely win a medal in Rio and I know I am going to be totally prepared for Brazil.
It has been nice to be “slightly in the shadow” for a while, the “attention” and pressure is not something Laugher “thrives on.”
But starting to have the “recognition” that he “deserves” and also having world class legends of the sports even stating how much Laugher have “improved” in four years, it shows the “hard work” and determination is slowly paying off.