Taylor: 'I have no regrets'
DIVER Leon Taylor says he has no regrets about finally hanging up his towel just months ahead of a fourth Olympic appearance at the Beijing Games.
The 29-year-old, who will still be heading to China as part of the BBC's commentary crew, admitted his body could no longer cope with the stresses and strains of day-to-day training and competition after an illustrious 22-year career.
Taylor, who has been struggling with a back injury, will be forever remembered in British diving circles after claiming a first Team GB Olympic medal for 44 years when he partnered Peter Waterfield to Athens silver in the synchronised 10m platform.
"My body just can't cope," said Taylor. "I had a good career and almost made it to my fourth Olympics so there are definitely no regrets.
"It would have been nice to give it up after China but I am not regretting making the decision I had to make.
"It is the vertical disc in my back and it just keeps getting aggravated - it will be fine at one point and then it will go into a spasm - and that means I am unable to perform.
"It is something I have been battling against for a while. I went to Athens and was struggling a bit with injuries and it is no surprise that my body has finally given up - I think the disc is literally hanging on by a thread."
And the Sheffield diving legend says the British team, which includes 14-year-old phenomenon Tom Daley and has qualified divers in every event, will challenge for silverware in Beijing with the likes of Tania Couch, Ben Swain and Peter Waterfield all in good form.
"This is a big Olympics for Tom - I am not going to stand here and say he will win gold but he is a possibility for a medal," added Taylor.
"I want him to go out there with a big smile on his face and show what he can do and as long as he puts in a good performance I will be pleased.
"Pete Waterfield is another one to look at off the back of Athens and his Olympic experience and I'm also looking forward to watching him do well.
"In Athens Peter and I won Britain's first medal for 44 years and that was a marvellous achievement because there are no expectations to do well in diving.
"But now the likes of Peter, Tom, Ben and Tania will all be feeling the pressure - it will be interesting to see how they cope."