LONDON 2012: Team GB boss sidesteps row over Daley's media commitments
TOM Daley will not be forced to take on media commitments for the British Olympic team - unless his coaching staff have signed off any proposed activity.
MEDIA WORK: Tom Daley is the face of many brands trying to gain an association with the Games, including Nestle and London 2012 sponsor BMW
Daley is one of the poster boys for the Games, having attracted a massive profile when he made his Olympic debut in Beijing as a 14-year old.
However, British Diving's performance director Alexei Evangulov has recently questioned his commitment - claiming Chinese rivals work 'three times harder' and comparing the former world champion to tennis player Anna Kournikova, who despite a massive profile never delivered on her playing potential.
Asked about the row, with dominated last week's Olympic test event, in which Daley and synchro partner Peter Waterfield finished a disappointing seventh, Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt gave a cautious response.
"It's not our place to comment," he said.
"It's very much about us working with the sports and it's not for us to interfere.
"In terms of an athlete attending a British Olympic Association appearance, we would 100 percent accept the decision of the respective performance director."
Evangulov's stance - which has attracted strong criticism from Daley's legion of Twitter followers, 200,000 strong and growing - has already been supported by British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes.
Daley, who has spoken of his desire to become a TV presenter, is keen to move on from the row and held a clear the air meeting with Evangulov after last week's FINA World Cup at the Olympic aquatic centre.
His advisors claim all his media work is agreed with his coaching staff, although Evangulov is said to be irked by a video released on the diver's You Tube channel, which showed him and team-mates dancing and lip-synching to LMFAO's chart hit Sexy And I Know It.
The video has been viewed 700,000 times and while some have claimed it's great for team bonding, elevating the pressure ahead of a home Games, Evangulov believes Chinese divers, who won all eight medals at last week's World Cup, would always take a more serious approach to their preparations.
In a statement released by his management company, Daley said. "I am glad that we have addressed some important issues, discovered some new ones and that we are all fully committed to the same goal.
"I am aware of the media debate regarding my commercial work. Alexei has had full approval over everything that I have done in terms of my commercial work since 2011.
"He is entitled to his opinions and of course I listen to them. He is one of the best performance directors in the world and I still have a lot more to learn from him.
"I respect the bottom line that he wants me to be successful. We share the same goals.
"We have readdressed some important issues regarding media work and interaction with fans, particularly when on duty for British Swimming or undertaking public appearances.
"Twitter and Facebook is fun. It is my generation.
"It has never taken up any training or performance time and does nothing to impact my overall commitment."
According to the statement, Daley now considered the issue 'closed' and would not answer any more questions on the matter.
And while he is due to feature in a number of high-profile advertising campaigns in the coming months, he claims all the work for them was completed last year.
"I haven't done any personal sponsor appearances yet in 2012 and I have three blocked pre-Games - all of which are approved by Alexei and take place at appropriate times," added Daley.
"They do not impact my training. Ad hoc media interviews take place over the phone or in Plymouth. They are rare. The rest of my media work is for British Swimming, for whom I have also done one appearance this year."
However, in an unfortunate quirk of timing, Madame Tussauds have chosen today to release a new waxwork figure of the popular diver, claiming he managed to squeeze in sittings with their sculptors between training and studying for his A-levels.
© Sportsbeat 2012