Olympic diver's family hurt by taunts

Tom Daley’s mum Debbie Daley suffers too when her Olympic diver son is abused with ‘hate and bile’ on Twitter.

Tom, 18, was recently targeted by a bully who accused him of letting his late dad down by coming 4th in the Olympic synchronised dive.

In retrospect, I think I was more upset than Tom, says Debbie, 41.

He is capable of compartmentalising his life and lets stuff like this go over his head. He has to. But I had that motherly instinct to protect.

Tom might be 18 and more than capable of handling bullies but he’s still my son and I am the only parent left to defend him.’

Debbie has to keep her feelings in check and give Tom the support that he needs. She was as matter-of-fact as she could be after Tom and diving partner Pete Waterfield missed out on a London 2012 medal last week after losing points on their 4th dive.

I felt crushed,’ Debbie tells The Mail on Sunday.

What can you say as a mum to your son after that? I managed: “Good try, well done, you were unfortunate.”

Actually, what I wanted to say was: “You were amazing, you looked beautiful up there and we were very, very proud.”

‘But what he needed was for me to be totally normal so he could get back on track.’

Tom dives again on 10 August.

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Anna Francis