It took just 4.8 seconds from take-off to entry. But in those speeding moments of their final dive, Dan Goodfellow and Tom Daley had to work as one and form a partnership in which neither could flounder.
It seems the commitment begins as Daley does his ‘1, 2, 3’ count. There’s no backing out and they must gather pace in unison. Once their feet have left the 10m board the pact has been made and the trust kicks in. Trust in each other to execute the technique they’ve drilled so many times before. Trust in each other to keep any error at bay. Trust in each other to perform at their very best, in the moment that really counts.
In fact, of course now I come to think of it, the commitment begins not during that crucial moment on the 10m platform but long before that when the partnership is formed. Ten months ago in Dan and Tom’s case. Not just connecting in the pool, but over Game of Thrones too. Yes, those trust-building moments are everywhere when we really look for them.
I’m so fascinated by those sports in which one person is so highly dependent on another. In any paired or team event, there’s a communication which goes beyond words. A language that expresses itself through the slightest body movement or a deeper understanding of what the other person will do next.
Sometimes rapport like that takes years to build and sometimes, as for this pair, it happens rather quickly. All the more difficult when one is a well-known star of sport and TV, and the other a new-comer to the Olympic arena. But if there’s one thing we know about people who trust, it’s that differences don’t count and shared aims do. Ten months to develop a mutual language and 4.8 seconds to express it – like trust itself, that’s a fine balancing act indeed.