Olympic Games - Swimming chief blasts Daley over TV show role

Tom Daley is usually one of those national treasures who is above criticism, but he's spent the last few days getting stick from all quarters.

Diving - Brave Tom Daley deserves to be happy after tragic death of father

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Tom Daley - Splash (ITV publicity photo)

His role as a mentor on new Saturday night reality TV show Splash - effectively Strictly Come Diving - has been panned as the show got abysmal reviews after its first episode at the weekend.

But now he has been attacked in stinging terms by none other than the head of British Swimming, David Sparkes, who has lashed out at the 18-year-old for not concentrating fully on his diving.

"Tom is an incredibly talented young man, but he's yet to achieve his full potential and it's only going to get harder to achieve that Olympic gold medal as he gets older," Sparkes told the Daily Mail.

"You can rest assured the next Chinese diving superstar will not have such distractions from training.

"He should look at the example of skaters Torvill and Dean who waited until the end of their competitive careers before doing such programmes.

"I'm concerned Tom is putting the cart before the horse and I've expressed those concerns to his agent."

It's not the first time that Daley has been blasted for getting carried away milking his high profile. Just five months before the Olympics, British Diving performance director Alexei Evangulov said that he would like to end Daley's out-of-the-pool activities.

"If I had power over this, I would restrict it," Evangulov said in February. "If you look at the Chinese, they work three times harder. That's the only secret. Just work hard."

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Daley's agent defended his appearance on the show, claiming that it does not affect his training and that the diver and his team "would only agree to such an undertaking at a quiet time of the year."

And considering that Daley managed to win Olympic bronze while also scooping grade As in all his A-levels last summer - all within 14 months of the tragic early death of his father - it's hard to argue that his performance has been unduly affected.

Having said that, Daley himself recently admitted that it will be "tough to get the motivation" to compete at the next Olympics in Rio, sounding almost resigned to being bettered by the Chinese.

"My sport is ultra-competitive right now and it's going to be a massive job to surpass the Chinese divers," he added.

What do you think? Should Tom Daley wait until he has retired before cashing in on his popularity? Or has he earned the right to have some fun and make some money while still trying to reach his athletic potential?

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