'I'd rather this happen now' than at the Olympics - Jack Laugher on his South Korean heartache
Although haunted by the final dive that cost him gold in the 3m springboard at the World Championships, Jack Laugher insists that he'd rather the mishap occurred this year than at next summer's Olympic Games.
The 24-year-old, from Harrogate, had to settle for bronze in South Korea after his last routine went horribly wrong.
Having led from the first round, Laugher appeared destined for victory and was also on course to challenge the world record total of 572.90, but scored just 30.60 in his final routine to finish with 504.55.
World champion Siyi Xie (545.45) retained his title with Olympic champion Yuan Cao (517.85) taking silver.
Laugher said he felt “dead inside” afterwards and punched a wall “like an idiot”, though acknowledged that the timing of what happened could have been worse.
“That’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life,” he admitted.
“I don’t really know what went wrong on the last dive. I felt like it was right and correct just like the semi-finals but I made exactly the same mistake again.
“I had it in my hands with a 30-point lead – I think I’m going to start javelin because I’m great at throwing.
“I shouldn’t be too hard on myself but I’ve punched a wall like an idiot and I have been laughing and crying and don’t know how to feel at the moment.
“As upsetting as the last dive was, next year’s a more important one, I’d rather this happen now than in Tokyo [the 2020 Olympics]."
Laugher said he felt like he had let people down given the way he finished the competition.
“I feel pretty dead inside right now,” the former Ripon Grammar School pupil added.
“I mean the first five, most of them were pretty damn good, four and five were really outstanding and I don’t really know what went wrong on the last dive.
“I shouldn’t be too hard on myself –I know what I did today was fantastic, I just don’t have any words for how it ended; I had it in my hands and I let it go.
“I end on that dive because all of my life it’s been a good finisher for me and I’ve always been able to put it down with 90-100 points and it’s been my safety dive.
“I feel I’ve let a lot of people down. I know I haven’t but it really upsets me to know I could have made history.”