Optimistic Laugher looks to Olympic defence with confidence

Taking the negatives and turning them into positives is all part of the ups and downs of an Olympic cycle, according to Rio 2016 gold and silver medallist Jack Laugher.

The diver from Harrogate and partner Chris Mears became Britain’s first diving Olympic champions by topping the podium in the men’s 3m springboard event at his second Games.

And Laugher created more history a week later by winning silver in the men’s individual 3m springboard, meaning he was the first British diver to win multiple Olympic medals at the same Games.

But disaster struck the 24-year-old in the individual event at the recent World Championships in South Korea when his final dive went wrong – dropping him from gold medal to bronze.

And while Laugher was understandably frustrated with his finish, he believes the experience will only benefit him in the long run as the countdown to Tokyo 2020 hits the year mark.

“There is a lot of pressure and a lot of nerves at this point of the cycle as this is the first time that we can qualify for the Olympic Games at the World Championships,” he said.

“The individual was disappointing for weird reasons because I still came away with a medal and a medal for me is amazing because the two Chinese opponents are unbelievable.

“I get angry about my negative results but I try to put a positive spin on them, I try to reflect and learn from it and that’s something I’ve worked on with my psychologist for a long time.

“I always say that you can compare diving to taking a penalty at a World Cup as every single one is extremely high pressure and you have to do it over and over again.

“That last dive I would compare to taking the deciding penalty that makes you team win or lose. It’s a lot of pressure but I’ve handled it really well throughout my entire career.

“I’ve had a few blips here and there but it’s really good that it’s happened now instead of next year, obviously disappointed I’m not world champion but I’d rather it happen now.”

Double Olympic medallist Jack Laugher is looking ahead to his title defence at Tokyo 2020, just under a year away.

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There was much better news for Laugher and Dan Goodfellow, though, who secured their first major honour as a pair with 3m synchronised silver at the World Championships in Gwangju.

The pairing teamed up for the first time last year and after securing Team GB’s first diving quota place in the event for the 2020 Olympics, Laugher insists they are progressing well as a duo.

“We have one year to go, qualifying that main spot with Dan was my main aim for this year, so to actually go out there and do it, I can’t describe how good it feels to actually do that,” he said.

“Competing alongside one of my best friends and being successful together is brilliant so it’s been an amazing few years and hopefully there will be many more to come.

“It’s been difficult because Dan has obviously dropped down from platform to springboard, they are obviously very similar in terms of the movements of diving but they are two different events.

“It has been a bit difficult but we got a bronze medal at our first international and a silver medal at the World Championships but it’s all a learning curve.”

And as he bids for a third consecutive Olympics, Laugher was also keen to stress the important role the Games plays in bringing the country together in one big sporting celebration.

“When I was younger, I loved watching the Olympics and loved seeing how it brought everyone together, but when you’re away you don’t really feel how the nation perceives it,” he said.

“With everything going on at the moment the country is a bit split and divided so it would be nice to have something in a year that brings us all together for one cause to support Team GB.”

Only) One Year to Go. Follow the journey to Tokyo 2020 at TeamGB.com and @TeamGB