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Tom Daley - 'My Story' - Review

     
TOM DALEY
MY   STORY
a review





Penguin Books   - Synopsis


Enter the enthralling world of Olympian Tom Daley.

Tom had hearts in mouths when he dived at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where he won two gold medals.
He is one of Britain's gleaming hopes for gold at the London 2012 Olympics, but there is also a heartbreaking and inspiring story of a young athlete coping with the death of his father whilst under the glare of the world's media spotlight.

In this, Tom's first official memoir, he offers unprecedented access to the pressures, challenges and fascinating experiences of a world-class Olympian.
From his day-to-day schedule, to his hobbies and family life, to sharing his hopes and dreams in the build up to the London Olympics, this book offers a unique chance to get close to Tom.
Featuring exclusive photography and published simultaneously as a hardback and enhanced e-book, this will be the ultimate book for the 2012 Olympics.

Or so Penguin Books would tell us - however...

Interestingly, this first book by the young British diver Tom Daley, started out priced at £16:99, and within a week or so had plummeted to £7:46 (a drop of 54%).
How long will we have to wait before they are giving the book away ?

(if you want to buy a copy at the full price go to http://www.penguin.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780718158071,00.html,
or get the lower price at
as at 30the June 2012)

A typical comment posted on the internet regarding Tom's autobiography -
posted by Jazzy242
'He is beautiful. but his autobiography will be, - I went diving , I was good at diving, I continued diving, I got even better, I went to the Olympics, I'm still really good at diving.'


Although the photos are good - the text could be a little more interesting - and a little more revealing.
Apparently Georgina Rodgers, Jonnathan Harris and Dan Bunyard (editor) all had a hand in producing the final text.
It is difficult to judge if the text has been deliberately 'dumbed-down' - possibly in consideration of the projected readership - or if Tom really writes in the style we find throughout the book.
Unfortunately, as it is presented, it gives every indication of being an elaborately extended version of a school essay, possibly entitled 'What I did on my holidays' - but in this case, 'What I did in my life'.

Debbie and Robert Daley
While it is his story - it's odd that we learn nothing about his parents before he was born - how they met - although we do get a nice wedding photo.
But we don't really find out about how Tom coped with growing up - what life was like for him as a young boy.
And nothing is put in context.

Plymouth - Devon - England
It's as if Plymouth existed in a void, and all the significant events occurring in the world just bypassed the Daley family.
No mention is made of significant events in the outside world (that is the world outside the Daley family, Plymouth and the international diving circuit).
No mention is made of political events, war, the economy, cultural and technological developments etc.
Now while these things would not impinge on a very young lad, they must have some significance for a teenager (and Tom has been a teenager for a significant number of years).
We are told nothing of Tom's views about politics, the 'state of the world', global warming, the economy, the arts and much else.
We are told about Tom's musical taste - by way of a 'play list' - and its all very bland and predictable.
And who 'dresses' Tom now ?
As for fashion we find out that he initially bought his cloths from 'Next' - quite normal and reasonable for a handsome teenage boy - and then there is a significant slip.

He states that 'later Burberry started dressing me' - note the word 'dressing'.
Now what ordinary teenager would say that ?
Perhaps, 'I get my clothes from Burberry', or,'I buy my clothes from Burberry'. But of course Burberry is supplying him with 'freebies' - and Tom is already talking like an 'A List' celebrity, and not the cute 'boy next door', which is an image that the remainder of the book, and most of Tom's publicity  tries to project.



David Hockney


There is another significant slip.
While practically no mention is made of anything of cultural significance, so that we seem to be aimlessly wandering through a world of diving competitions, Coca-Cola and Big Macs, there is suddenly a reference to the artist David Hockney.
So is Tom a little deeper than he is letting on ?




 Olympia '36
Tom Daley diving
And yes - there is a lot in the book about diving (incidentally, diving only became popular after the release of Leni Riefenstahl's documentary depicting the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games) - and much of it is rather technical - but how many people are interested in Tom because of his expertise as a 10 meter board Olympic diver.
Most people are interested in Tom because he's cute - or at least he was cute. Now he's just 'sexy - and he know's it'.

I you check the Google searches about Tom they are not about the scores for his latest dives.
Ninety percent of Google searches for Tom are 'Tom Daley Bulge', or 'Tom Daley Speedos', along with a good smattering of 'Tom Daley Penis', and 'Tom Daley Nude'.

Tom Daley - Adidas
Now Tom, despite being abnormally reticent about talking or writing about sex, hasn't been backward in 'cashing in' on his obvious sexual allure - even when he was quite young.


So why doesn't Tom, in this 'first official memoir' tell us the real reason why he nearly always wears Speedos that are two sizes too small for him - unless he is posing for Adidas, when they are always generously cut - (presumably Adidas are more prudish than Speedo).


(And of course Tom does well from Adidas by fronting their 'Ice Dive' range of male grooming products - gracing their advertisements with his usual 'outstretched arms' pose, with the obligatory Union Flag, in generously cut - but still very brief - Adidas trunks. I wonder if Tom actually uses the stuff)




video


So - if you want to be cute, famous and seriously rich, like Tom, then splash on some Adidas

First look at Adidas 2012 Olympic Games Team GB 'Speedos'



Tom Daley



Not very flattering
white at rear makes Tom's bum look big,
and the silly little white triangle at the front ruins the shape of Tom's infamous 'bulge'.
(click to enlarge images)



Tom Daley
Adidas 2012 Olympic Games Advert
http://www.adidas.co.uk/

Tom Daley and Tonia Couch
supposedly posing in a photo-booth
Adidas 2012 Olympic Games Advert
http://www.adidas.co.uk/

Yes - it is Tom, but it's amazing what Photoshop can do for your cheek-bones ! 
Tonia is Tom's girl friend. That's not 'girl-friend' as in romantic relationship, but rather girl friend as a 'mate'.
Tom and Tonia are mates because Tom, it seems, hasn't got a boy who's a 'mate' - which is strange, because boys of his age nearly always have a mate - unless they are 'gay' in which case, paradoxically, they go around with girls - 'makes you think, don't it' - as Stewie would say.
(note the Union Jack)


Tom Daley
Adidas 2012 Olympic Games Advert
http://www.adidas.co.uk/


Equally, it is likely that most readers would be very eager to know why Tom suddenly decided to stop removing his body hair.
(Some have speculated that 'his people' advised him to do this to help dampen down the endless rumours on the internet that he was 'gay'.)

Incidentally, much of the hype that Tom gives out about 'fancying' Cheryl Cole is designed to play down the 'gay' rumours - after all she is 29 and he is 18 so it would seem to be an unlikely 'coupling'.

"I've fancied her since The X Factor. She is just so sexy and my type...Our date would definitely be in Plymouth and I would take her for a hot-air balloon ride that ended with a BBQ on the beach in the sunset. It's not very glamorous, but I think she might like a change." - can you believe that ?


And the speculation that Tom is 'gay' is not without foundation.
While, on meeting him,  he is a somewhat disconcertingly pleasant and amenable, he is also strangely androgynous and 'fey' - not in his appearance - but in his manner.
And then there's the question of an eighteen year old boy having a 'lucky' monkee !

But enough has been said about Tom's oddly undefined sexuality - there are other matters.



Tom refers to his 'agents' at Professional Sports Group  - Michela Chiappa, Charlotte Hallam and Jamie Cunningham - who 'organise his life' and help everything 'move forward'.
It would be interesting to know who these people are, and what is in it - financially - for them.
Equally, it would be interesting to know just how much of what Tom says, does and even writes originates with him - in other words - what degree of autonomy does he have.
It seems obvious that his 'agents' are very well aware that if Tom is not successful at the Olympics then public interest is likely to decline markedly - and it is undoubtedly for that reason that his 'first official memoir', plus the recent 'Fabulous Magazine' photo-shoot were timed to occur prior to Tom's appearance at the Games.

Tom Daley
with muscles and body-hair
Young Tom Daley
a practically naked
under-age boy.
One of the oddest things about the Tom Daley phenomena when he was young was the way it was made acceptable for the general public to 'ogle' a practically naked under-age boy.
In any other situation such activity would be immediately associated with paedophilia but, because Tom was a cute diver, it was apparently ok.
Google any other young diver and there are very few results.
Google Tom Daley and there are pages and pages of results.


Agreed he is a remarkably talented and successful diver, but if one is honest it is obvious that the muscles, the face and the tiny speedos are the reason why he is so popular.




And now that as he has 'come of age' the new image of Thomas Daley is blatantly sexual ('Fabulous Magazine' photo-shoot), although, strangely, not so revealing (less flesh on display).
However, the sexuality that Tom now displays is no longer the cute, smiling and unthreatening young boy.

Now, it seems, his 'mentors' at Professional Sports Group require Tom to project a strangely threatening sexuality, which is almost aggressive and, in many ways, orientated to the adult, 'gay' audience.
And one can reasonably speculate that it is only a matter of time before Tom is required to do a 'Harry Potter' and, like Daniel Radcliffe, pose nude - if the money is right.


And what does Tom feel about all of this ?
The book does not tell us, in fact, apart from a harrowing account of the death of his father (complete with some questionable, and possibly inappropriate, photos of Robert Daley during his final illness), it tells us very little about the personality of this young man.

A rare photo of Tom Daley Training
And what about Tom's training and diet.
There are plenty of reference to Tom's predilection for 'junk food', but nothing is said about the vitamins, amino acids and other supplements that are required to maintain his obvious level of fitness.
We are told nothing about the secrets behind his superb physique.
In all the endless information about diving competitions, training and preparation, there is no mention of how Tom trains in the gym - and no one develops a perfectly toned and muscled body like Tom Daley without arduous resistance training - so why is it kept so 'hush-hush' ?

And perhaps the least appealing aspect of the memoir is the section about Blake Aldridge at Bejing - an episode neither forgotten nor forgiven.

And by how much does Tom benefit from all this publicity that his 'agents' so carefully 'organise' for him ?


So in the end Tom's first memoir answers very few of the many of the questions that so many of us are asking about this 'diving superstar', who is now turning into a 'celebrity', and a 'pin up boy' for the 'gay' community.


and I wonder how much my signed copy is worth now ?



MORE REFLECTIONS ON THE 'DALEY PHENOMENON'

'My Story'
Tom Daley's Autobiography
'My Story' Book Launch
Waterstones
As publicity stunts go, the launch of Olympic diving hopeful Tom Daley’s autobiography will hardly go down as the most subtle of affairs.
In a crowded 'Waterstones' book-store in London’s Piccadilly, a miniature diving board was erected 2ft off the ground on which the teenage 'pin-up' posed wearing only a pair of Adidas swimming trunks so minuscule that the fact they stayed on seemed to defy most of the laws of science.
It was, it goes without saying, a display designed to make a splash - if a somewhat tacky splash.
And certainly, the 18-year-old diver is a marketing man’s dream.
His tanned, boy-band good looks and Colgate smile have made him the official dreamboat of 'Team GB', and won him an adoring legion of fans.

By way of gauging his popularity, almost 290,000 followers regularly log on to read the often hourly Tweets their heart-throb posts about his life on his official Twitter page (how can he be bothered to Tweet hourly ?).
Such hero worship is, of course, manna from heaven for the Abu Dhabi based businessmen who control the money-spinning career of clean-cut Tom, who is one of our genuine hopes for gold at London 2012.
But out of the swimming pool, other major opportunities are in the offing, including an upcoming BBC TV show, not to mention his plans to start a career as a presenter.





Jamie Cunningham
and the Abu Dhabi based businessmen 
Jamie Cunningham
CEO Professional Sports Group
Tom is good at everything he does,’ his manager Jamie Cunningham told me. ‘He’s the best he can be — that’s his mindset. Everyone who works with him or interviews him says “God, he’s so good” because he isThere are certain top sports people who are also major media stars and perform to the best of their ability. Tom’s profile is high. There’s a lot of interest.’ - Well he would say that !
No wonder the tills of 'Brand Daley' are already ringing.
His ‘life story’, released to coincide with his 18th birthday two weeks ago, is said to have netted him a £300,000 advance.

Tom Daley
advertising for Nestle
A 'present' for Tom
Meanwhile, his handlers are confidently preparing for their young Plymouth-born charge to earn another £500,000 in the coming months through sponsorship deals with the likes of BMW, Adidas (see above) and Nestle, as well as highly lucrative personal appearance fees.
It is all the sort of fuss you might expect if he had actually won the Olympic gold. But, then, his image-makers are hardly going to turn up the chance to exploit his ever-growing popularity.
Team GB
2012 London Olympic Games
However, even as the cash begins to roll in, there are already concerns that the money men — who are fast turning the immensely likeable Tom into one of the country’s most profitable young sports stars — may be putting at risk his chances of glory at the Games, and it has already caused a bitter row with the youngster’s bosses at Team GB.
Abu Dhabi
Coat of Arms
Meanwhile, Tom’s touchy managers at the Professional Sports Group, who are based in the Gulf state, have become so sensitive to claims of cashing in that they have attempted to ban the media from questioning the diver about his well-paid sidelines.
Others who are raking in big money from (not for) the teenager have taken a distinctly cloak-and-dagger approach to inquiries about how much his outside work interests may be affecting his training.
When how many personal appearances they have lined up for him in the coming weeks, the chilly response was - 
We do not discuss them. They are closed corporate events and not advertised.’ With that the phone was slammed down.
Why all the secrecy ? - Could it be something to do with the simmering row between those pulling the strings of Tom’s business affairs and his worried bosses at Team GB?
Significantly, following a string of poor performances, the situation became so explosive that the British team’s diving performance director went public with his damning verdict that Tom — who started diving aged seven — is risking throwing away his lifelong ambition of winning gold in pursuit of money and fame.

Anna Kournikova
Alexei Evangulov
To emphasise the point, Alexei Evangulov, a Russian former Olympic diver, compared Daley to Anna Kournikova, the tennis player who has become more famous for her blonde good looks and pop star boyfriend, Enrique Inglesias, than for her prowess on the court.
Daley’s boss also scathingly pointed out that the Chinese diver, Qui Bo, who is above Daley in the world rankings and favourite for Olympic gold in the 10m platform event, had been training three times harder than his British rival.
I am angry because nobody will listen to me,’ a furious Evangulov said at the time. ‘If Tom stopped all his media work now, I might be able to get him up to the third-best diver. I don’t mind what he does if he gets the medal. He can become a rock star.’

David Sparkes
His dire warning was echoed by David Sparkes, the chief executive of British Swimming, who sent out his own plea for the teenager to ‘knuckle down’.

Matthew Mitcham
He doesn’t want to regret for ever that he didn’t give it everything that he had,’ said a clearly exasperated Sparkes.
‘It’s impossible to win medals just on talent alone, you have got to work hard.’
Even one of Daley’s competitors for 2012 gold, Australian Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham, broke ranks earlier this year to accuse the youngster of trying to ‘have his cake and eat it’.
The row has led to a public war of words between Tom and his management team at the Professional Sports Group on one side, and the sport’s hierarchy on the other, and Tom’s manager Jamie Cunningham bizarrely attempted to blame the dispute on the fact English is not Evangulov’s first language.
It was a storm in a teacup,’ he said.
Suffice to say, it is not the way they see it at Team GB.
Funeral of Robert Daley
A likely explanation for Tom going after the cash seems to centre round the loss of his father, and Tom, for quite understandable reasons, feels he must provide financially for his receptionist mother Debbie and younger brothers Will, 15, and 12-year-old Ben.

Tom Daley and Debbie Daley
In his newly published book, 'My Story' (see above), he reveals: ‘Now, I feel really responsible towards my mum and I want to look after everyone - I feel it’s my job to make sure we have enough money, and I have to keep diving for that.’
And he certainly cannot be blamed, of course, if publishers Penguin are prepared to throw six-figure sums at him to write his memoirs — even if he was the ridiculously tender age of just 16 when the deal was signed.
But inevitably, his growing public profile and media commitments have steadily been taking up more and more of his time away from the pool.
Last month saw the highly personable Tom once again on the book-signing circuit in London and his home town, Plymouth, where he and his family live in a modest, but smart semi.
The previous week, he was doing the rounds of the TV sofas and radio stations.

Tom Daley and Chris Moyles
Tom Daley - ITV This Morning
He spent his birthday being interviewed first by TV presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ITV’s This Morning, and later appeared on the BBC’s One Show.
He was also booked on Radio 1’s Chris Moyles Show.





Tom Daley Photo-Shoot
Fabulous Magazine
And then there was a rather tacky photographs of him in a wet T-shirt in Fabulous magazine.
The accompanying headline said: ‘Sexy and we know it ! Woah ! We blinked when Tom Daley just totally grew up. So how’s the Olympian enjoying his new heart-throb status ? He’s lapping it up ?.?.?.
Tom Daley Photo-Shoot
Fabulous Magazine
And that’s not the only magazine cover he’s graced recently, having appeared on the front of Style a fortnight ago in a white shirt pulled open to the waist.
On the inside pages, he took his latest step in emulating David Beckham’s crossover from sport to fashion, modelling among other outfits a £1,200 Prada blazer and £210 Gucci sunglasses in a glossy magazine photo-shoot.
This week, he also appears in the celebrity magazine Heat, in which the ‘dishy Olympic diver’ is pictured reclining on a red sofa by the sea wearing only swimming trunks (yet again).
He’s also been promoting his new smart phone app, Tom Daley Dive 2012, which lets gamers — for a fee — control an animated version of him on a high diving board.

Tom Daley
Advertising for Adidas
He also has his own on-line TV station, which highlights money-making tie-ins with Adidas — which sponsors his trunks and makes his own brand of body wash, deodorant and aftershave called Ice Dive (see abobe) — and BMW, which gave him a sporty black and white Mini for his birthday last month.
Clearly, Tom isn’t averse to the limelight.
Last year he also did a shoot with the supermodel Kate Moss for Italian Vogue.
Blake Aldridge
But you have to wonder just how the sixth-former at the private Plymouth College — who became a household name at the age of just 14 when he and partner Blake Aldridge came eighth in the 10m synchro event at the Beijing Olympics — manages to fit in his training into his hectic schedule.
I am told his most recent fashion spread — which saw him shirtless with a brunette model draped seductively over him — was photographed at the end of April, the day after yet another photo-shoot for Adidas.
They were sandwiched between two major diving championships.
In the meantime, he was — until a few weeks ago — being followed around by a BBC TV crew for the fly-on-the-wall documentary about his life, which is due to be aired before the Olympics begin next month.
Tonia Couch
He is also fast displaying an enviable head for business, which sees him drop in not-so-subtle plugs for his sponsors, alongside the constant Tweets about his alcohol-free nights out with school friends or pretty blonde 23-year-old Tonia Couch, his fellow Team GB diver (despite rumours they are an item, he denies they are dating).

I'm Sexy and I Know It'
Youtube Video
And earlier this year, the sporting prodigy — who was once a victim of classroom bullies at his former Devon state school — starred with Team GB team-mates in a lip-synching spoof video of electro-pop hit 'Sexy And I Know It', which has had close to a million hits on YouTube.
That said, the rollicking he received from his Olympic bosses seems to have been the wake-up call he and his business advisers needed.
In the weeks since the row went public, there has been a marked turnaround in his form.

Tom Daley
European Championships in Holland  
Last month, Daley won gold at the European Championships in Holland after coming first at the World Series in the 10m platform event, in Mexico in April (though, significantly, world number one Qui Bo did not compete).
His 'team' says he is in ‘lockdown’ mode, meaning that he is devoting all his time to preparing for the Games.
The British diver’s manager told me last week that he had turned down a major TV advert in order to devote time to training, which sees him spend four hours in the pool, six days a week.
Nonetheless, plans are already well under-way to boost his image — and earning potential — still further.
Tom is 18 and he has more control over what he’s going to do from now on. It is something he is very involved with because he is a bright human being,’ Jamie Cunningham has said.
Let’s just hope that the milking of ‘Brand Daley’ doesn’t rob this talented young lad of his chance of winning gold.


__________________________________________




THE BOY NEXT DOOR

Tom Daley has insisted that he is no different from anybody else of his age.
Tom has revealed that the success he has enjoyed so far has not changed him as a person.
"Last night I actually baby-sat and dog-sat for a couple of my neighbours," he told me. "I'm just a normal person, I do what everyone else does.
I go to the shops and go in town, just whatever really. It's just general downtime."

Now - either Tom is fooling himself, and maybe really believes this (unlikely), or he is, like a naive teenager, trying to fool us.
After all, do people give you watches (£2500), gold jewellery, cars (£50,000 odd), clothes and probably crates of Adidas deodorant etc - just for being who we are ?


For example - White Keith White, (Managing Director and co-owner of Michael Spiers jewellers - Plymouth) has chosen to give Tom Daley the 'Omega Seamaster Diver 300' watch, worth £2500.00, (as worn by James Bond - good product placement) in recognition of his outstanding achievement in the recent World Championships held in Rome, where Tom made history by claiming Britain’s first ever world championship individual diving gold medal.
The gift came a short time after Tom’s achievements in the Beijing Olympics, where he finished 8th in the world, after which Mr White designed and made a solid gold Olympic signet ring for Tom (see right) to mark the occasion.
Very nice, but isn't a little suspect for an adult man to give a teenage boy a gold ring, with all the possible implications that such a gift involves. And you would have thought that Robert Daley (Tom's father - who was still alive at the time) would have vetoed such a gift, particularly as Tom was under eighteen - after all, there are those rumours.

The matter of sponsorship has become so blatant that Tom has received warning about his abuse of his Twitter account.
Tom has deals with Mini, Nestle and Adidas, and mentioned the sportswear firm eight times in a month on his Twitter account in tweets and retweets.
He also tweeted a picture of his Mini with the words: ‘My amazing parallel park into the smallest space ever!!!


But like Tom says, they are 'just normal people !'


_________________________________________________

Tom Daley & The Media: A Statement by Jamie Cunningham, CEO Professional Sports Group
February 15, 2012

“Diving, family and school have always been the priority for Tom. This is 90% of his life. As an elite 17 year old athlete, this was agreed between Tom, his family and British Diving. The rest of his life falls into the remaining 10%. A small percentage of this is corporate and media work.
We have always worked closely with British Diving - including Alexei Evangulov and Tom’s coach Andy Banks - to ensure that any media work takes place around diving, family and school. We also work closely with the media to ensure that over 70% of his interviews and appearances take place in Plymouth - not London.
The media interest in Tom is hardly surprising given his age, his sport, his success to date and the fact that it is a London Olympics. The comparisons with China may be relevant from a sporting perspective, but are less valid from a cultural and human one.  We turn down over 95% of media and commercial approaches for Tom. We only work with a small team of sponsors - namely Adidas, BMW, Nestle and Penguin - and ensure that any media is either necessary or – very occasionally - fun, given Tom’s interest and studies in both photography and media. When Tom does any media work, it is usually high profile because of public interest, his character and the fact that we do not provide regular media access to Tom.
Tom has been working incredibly hard this Winter on his training. The good news is that he has managed to finish most of his A-level work early (completing his Photography A-Level with an A* in one year) and there is now limited school work until after the Games.
We fully agree that British public expectation is too high around Tom. Qui Bo from China is very much the Gold medal favourite. In tennis terms, he is Novak Djokovic, the man to beat following an unbeaten 2011. Qui Bo may yet become the greatest diver of all time. However we are all very focused on ensuring that Tom has every chance for success in London this Summer and we are confident that the plan which was agreed with British Diving, Tom’s sponsors and the media in late July 2011, following a difficult first half of 2011 for obvious reasons, is 100% on track. We look forward to continuing to work with Alexei, Andy and all the team at British Diving on this plan.”

Jamie Cunningham, CEO Professional Sports Group



__________________________________________

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from the very beginning
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