Not to be for Ollie Dingley.
Eighth place in the 3-metre diving event in Rio five years ago, the 28-year old finished 25th in the heats of today’s preliminaries with a score of 335.0 and there will be no semis, let alone a final for him this time around.
This was not what he had trained for, not what he would have expected, but there was sympathy in the statement put to him when he entered the mixed zone that he will still go home as a two-time Olympian.
It’s clear that this wasn’t where his head was at. How could it be?
“When you put it like, that a two-time Olympian sounds really cool. I have to take a step back, it’s a great achievement and I’m very proud of that. I could safely say I’ve experienced the highs and lows at the Olympics. It wasn’t the performance I wanted today, especially after making the final in Rio, with my eighth place.
“At the same time, I messed up a dive in the second round. And once you mess that it’s hard to gather yourself. I felt like I did gather myself to the best of my ability, but silly mistakes cost me in each round and at this level. When you make those mistakes it’s game over. It happens in high-level sport, and it’s a mixture of emotions for everyone.”
Dingley spoke what has been a difficult five years for him since that unexpected finish in Rio. There was a bout of crippling anxiety after those Games when he couldn’t even face going to the shops and he has had to overcome the same delays and obstacles as everyone else to simply make it this far.
He has explained too how much of his sport is in the head and how important it is to compose yourself for each and every dive, wiping the memory bank of the last effort, good or bad, so you can nail the next one.
“It depends how good the last dive is to what I’m thinking, really. It’s all about trying to calm yourself down. I definitely struggled at times, but at other times I’m quite proud of myself of being able to before I got on the board to pull it back in, pull it back into my own headspace and get off the board.
“You saw today several failed dives. I don’t think I’ve seen so many failed dives at an Olympic Games, but that’s what happens at high-level sport and unfortunately, I was at the wrong side of that result today.
“But I am proud at the same time and am looking forward to cheering on Tanya Watson (in the 10m) as well. She’s a phenomenal talent and it will be a special moment for her, and for Team Ireland as well.”