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Meet Leon Taylor
Date: 1/10/2007

Commentating for Sky
Hi, my name is Leon Taylor, welcome to my Blog on www.yougo4it.co.uk.  Over the next four months I will be telling you some of the things I am getting up to as I prepare for the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008.  So here goes.

The funniest thing that happened to me this month was while I was commentating for Sky Sports during the World Diving Series in Sheffield.  I had decided not to compete in the competition as it did not fit in with my training schedule for the Olympic Games.  I was sharing the commentary with a very good friend of mine, Steve Foley, Head of British Diving.  Steve spent the whole time cracking jokes and there was no mute button on my microphone.  I had to hold the microphone at arms length while desperately trying to control my laughter.  All my mates could see what was happening in the commentary box and made matters worse by laughing at what was going on.

The low point of September was when I had a problem with my lower back as it went into spasm.  I had to stop training and I was totally frustrated as I could do nothing.  In some sports you can do light training but this does not apply to diving.  Thankfully there is no long term effect to my diving, but my back needed time to recover. Iím getting old!

Leon training

In the second half of August I went to the wedding of my diving partner, Peter Waterfield.  It took place in the New Forest and was a fantastic day.  Although I am used to public speaking I was pleased I was not making the Best Manís speech.  Peter and I have been a synchronised pair since 1995 and each month we spend a week together practicing the synchronisation routines.  During the other weeks we train on our own in Sheffield and Southampton.  We are a strangely matched pair but it works well.  Pete is 5ft 5ins and bald while I am nearly 6ft and have bleach blond hair.

Leon's sushi
It was great to welcome the World Series of Diving to my home pool as it featured the top eight divers and top six pairs in the world.  Many of these were great friends of mine and I enjoyed showing them round Sheffield and training with them.  On the pictures this month you will see me having Sushi with Alex Despatie from Canada, he was the World Champion in 2005.

Many people ask me what makes a great dive.  The answer is entering the water vertically with no splash.  It is like splitting the water in two and it makes a ripping noise when done correctly.  The judges award marks for the dive and then these are multiplied by the degree of difficulty.  Each dive we do has a set level of difficulty.  I invented the worldís most difficult dive in 1998 and you can see a video of me doing it on my website at www.leontaylor.co.uk.  The dive is a backward two and a half somersault with two and a half twists in a piked position.  It is longer to say than it is to do.  In gymnastics a new move is named after the person that devises it but this does not happen in diving.  So you canít call the dive a ĎTaylorí!

Leon with World Diving Competitors

I had a great day out at the offices of one of my sponsors, Atos Origin.  It is the IT company that provides all the IT support at the Olympic Games.  They are based in Cheshire and I had fun answering all the questions from the staff.

I went to the British Athletes Commission Annual Conference in London.  It was held at the offices for London 2012 in Canary Wharf and I met other athletes from all sorts of different sports.  The conference covered subjects like: drugs in sport; life after competition; career planning; pensions; and the progress on London 2012.

What I eat has a big impact on the way I feel and my ability to compete.  My food intake varies according to the training I am doing.  I am currently under fuelling, so I can get rid of body fat and reach my ideal weight for competition.  Before that I was over fuelling, that is taking in more food so that I had enough energy to lift heavier weights and do more weight training.  I believe that if you have a low quality diet you will have poor results and if I ever get my diet wrong I can quickly feel tired.

I spend six hours a day training, 3 hours diving in the pool and 3 hours on dry land.  The latter includes gymnastics, trampolining, yoga, Pilates and weight training.

Over the last two days I had a photo shoot for my swimwear sponsors.  I was with David

Leon with David Davies and Liam Hancock
Davies, Bronze medallist at the Olympic Games at Athens in 2004 and Liam Hancock the UKís No 1 backstroker.

Please come back next month as I will tell you what happened in a World Record Synchronised Dive event in Hackney and how I did at a showcase for conference and business speakers.

Leon Taylor




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