Jack Laugher wanted to win gold for his late grandma, and he delivered at the first opportunity at Birmingham 2022 on a night where Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, daughter of First Dates star Fred, was also victorious.
The 27-year-old Laugher is from Harrogate but Bernice, his biggest supporter, lived in Sedgley just a few miles from the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
She passed away a couple of months ago with Laugher unable to attend her funeral because of the risk of catching Covid ahead of the World Championships – where he won three medals.
So, in Birmingham he was desperate to honour her memory and he did just that as he made it a hat-trick of 1m springboard titles at the Commonwealth Games, winning his sixth gold in all.
He said: “It’s special that today I’ve hopefully done her proud. She was my biggest supporter and I think hopefully I have done her, my family, my mum on poolside, my girlfriend’s parents up in the stands, I hope I have done them all proud.
“My grandma is always in my heart, but I think when you get too emotional and bring the emotional side of things into this sport, into a very fine motor skill sport, and a high skill sport, it can lead you astray when you are doing it for something. I like to take it one dive at a time and try and focus. I know she would be proud of me. I’m proud that I’ve done it for her.
“There was loads of pressure coming into here, trying to defend that title that I’ve had for eight years now. It was a great performance, very steady, a few mistakes here and there but I’m really, happy with everything and to do it in front of a home crowd makes it a little sweeter.”
Laugher was joined on the podium by compatriot Jordan Houlden who led after the first two rounds and eventually came away with a memorable bronze medal.
Meanwhile in the women’s 10m platform, 17-year-old Spendolini-Sirieix held her nerve in front of father Fred to take the gold, beating Laugher’s girlfriend Lois Toulson who took silver.
She said: "It feels really nice. Thank you for all the cheers, it means a lot to me. It's amazing because my family couldn't come to Tokyo, but they have come to Birmingham."
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