By Mike Rowbottom at Millbank Tower in London

Leon Taylor_bmw_15-02-12February 13 - Former Olympic diving medallist Leon Taylor (pictured) believes his fellow Briton Tom Daley is coping well with the London 2012 effect.

Taylor, who won silver in the 10 metre platform at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and silver at the Athens 2004 Olympics in the synchronised 10m event with Pete Waterfield, Daley's current diving partner, thinks the 17-year-old former world champion is handling the pressure of competing in a home Games ideally.

Taylor points out the recently released spoof music video by Daley and fellow team members, which has already had half-a-million hits on YouTube.

"I think Tom is dealing with the London effect really well," said Taylor, who mentored Daley in the early part of his career and now operates in the same role as one of the BMW performance team athletes.

"Tom's (pictured centre) 17, he's got his teammates there and they are making fools of themselves in a fun way.

TomDaley-TeamGB-SexyAndIKnowItviralvideo 14-02-12
"You need to get the balance of competitiveness and relaxation right, and I think he is.

"It's not good being locked away thinking of the pressure of London 2012.

"The other advantage he has is that he will be coming into a major event slightly behind the favourites.

"You are not having to hold where you are.

"It's nice not being defending champion or coming in as world champion.

"He can still be striving after the top spot, which is a really nice attacking position to be in.

"I don't think you can look at anyone as a nailed on Olympic gold medal winner –  not even Usain Bolt when you consider what happened last year in Daegu [at the World Athletics Championships].

"Tom and the other British divers are going to have a twofold advantage in London.

"Firstly the fact that they have a home crowd cheering for them.

"And that leads to another interesting thing happening.

"I know from Manchester that whenever you hit the water the roof is lifted off by noise and the judges who are sitting there have to input their scores.

"Now, I bet you, being as objective as they can, that amount of noise will influence them slightly, so half a point from a judge here and there makes a difference.

"More so for the outside medal chances, like the women's 10m synchro pair – they were fourth at the world championships in China last year by the narrowest of margins.

"That fourth could quite easily have been a bronze, and so therefore you have got a few medal chances in 2012."

leon taylor_pete_waterfield_athens_2004_14-02-12
Taylor (pictured left with Waterfield at Athens 2004) was appearing at a press event here to launch BMW Presents, a series of films based on BMW performance team athletes including Louis Smith and Paralympian David Weir that look at what it takes to deliver the ultimate performance.

"You have got to be professional," Taylor added.

"But some things are too important to take too seriously.

"When Pete and I were at the Sydney 2000 Games we were favourites to win a medal, and that was what we concentrated on.

"We didn't smile, we were very serious, we thought about the medal – and we finished fourth.

"We learned a lot from that, and four years later in Athens, although we were still very professional in our approach, it was more relaxed.

"We had more fun.

"Instead of thinking about a medal, we concentrated on nailing every dive to the best of our ability.

"And at the end of our competition we were silver medallists.

leon taylor_manchester_2002_14-02-12
"When I was competing at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester I was on the end of a diving board and I could have let my attention go to the fact that it was in Great Britain, there were 15,000 people staring at me, it was in my home and there's my mum and dad, and you can see how you could get into a spiral and that would affect your performance in a negative way.

"Or you can look on it in a positive way.

"When I was competing in Manchester the support was absolutely phenomenal.

"You would have people shouting out support to you as you walked down the street in team kit.

"It was like an electricity running through your veins.

"And when I was standing on that diving board in front of my home crowd I felt supercharged.

"Having a home crowd can be a massive advantage."

Leon Taylor was speaking at the launch of BMW Presents, a series of short films that celebrate the BMW London 2012 Performance Team and explore Ultimate Performance. To view the films, click here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
January 2012: Daley and I can win gold at London 2012, says Waterfield
August 2011: Exclusive - Olympic diving silver medallist believes current crop can replicate his success
July 2011: Daley swept aside as Chinese complete cleansweep
July 2011: Daley World Championship defence hopes boosted after Olympic champion Mitcham pulls out
June 2011: Daley returns to action after death of father