Jack Laugher: Golden tears of joy makes London heartbreak distant memory says proud dad David

Jack Laugher broke down in tears after winning Olympic gold
Jack Laugher broke down in tears after winning Olympic gold
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The father of Olympic gold medal winning diver Jack Laugher said his son's tears of joy put to bed painful memories of a heartbreaking experience at the London Olympic four years ago.

Laugher jumped to gold alongside City of Leeds partner Chris Mears in the 3m synchronised springboard on Tuesday night to win Britain's first ever Olympic diving gold medal.

The pair won Yorkshire's first medal of the Rio Games and Laugher can still double his medal collection in the individual 3m springboard next week.

Leeds Civic Hall responded by lighting up in gold last night in recognition of their achievements.

“It feels a bit unreal,” said Laugher's dad David.

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“I am immensely proud of his and Chris's achievement. They have worked really hard for this. They have put the hours in. It couldn't have happened to a nicer two boys.”

Laugher and Mears won by just three points ahead of the United States

Laugher and Mears won by just three points ahead of the United States

Laugher's victory was in stark contrast to his performance at his first Olympic Games four years ago when he exited the London Aquatics Centre in tears having slipped off the board in qualification.

The 21-year-old, from Ripon, broke down in tears again in Brazil but this time it was in joy when the final scores were announced at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre.

David, who watched the final from his Littlethorpe home near Ripon alongside family dog Alfie, said: “I can understand why that happened. You imagine that he has been backing that up for the last four years.

“2012 has been and gone now. We won't be talking about that again. He was a schoolboy then and he has matured now.

Laugher and Mears in action during the 3m synchro final in Rio

Laugher and Mears in action during the 3m synchro final in Rio

“You can see that when they knew that they had got it, it all spilled out. He couldn't hold it in.

“Chris was smiling and laughing and Jack was on the floor in tears. He's a typical Laugher!

“I am pleased I stayed here because I was a nervous wreck and he gets a bit stressed when I am at competitions.

“There was just me and our dog Alfie, that's how I wanted it to be.

“I was extremely nervous and over-emotional about it just counting down the hours and minutes until it started.”

Laugher's golden rise

Laugher made his breakthrough at the 2010 world junior championships when he won gold as a 15-year-old diving prodigy.

However, his progress in the sport has largely been in the shadow of close friend and fellow Olympic medallist Tom Daley, who attended the Beijing Olympics at the age of 14.

The partnership of Laugher and Reading-born Mears only took off two and a half years ago when the pair began training together at the John Charles swimming centre in Leeds.

But they had instant success by winning gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games as well as picking up medals on the prestigious Diving World Series.

Laugher also won gold in the 1m springboard in Glasgow but missed out on a third in his preferred 3m event as he came home with silver.

The Leeds pair won the European Championships earlier in 2016 and approached the Rio Games as likely medal contenders.