Olympic gold medalist David Boudia has warned Tom Daley that he is ready to revive their epic London 2012 battle when they return to the Aquatics Centre for the third round of the Diving World Series this weekend.
Boudia is back in London for the first time since he snatched Olympic 10 metre platform gold on an emotional night for Daley.
After leading into the final round, Daley had to be content with a bronze medal he immediately dedicated to his late father Robert.
Two years on and Boudia and Daley will meet at the same pool for the first time since that memorable night.
‘Obviously going back to the London pool will bring back a lot of memories – it’s where the dream came true,’ Boudia told Press Association Sport.
‘It’s going to be like a rematch of the Olympic final and competing against Tom Daley, where he has the home advantage, is going to get the adrenaline pumping.
‘But I feel like I am at the top of my game right now. I’ve just had an awesome week of training.Hopefully the performance will be almost identical as it was two years from now.’
Boudia and Daley were separated at the Olympics by China’s world champion Qiu Bo.
It was a rare success against a Chinese diver – they won six of the eight diving gold medals on offer at London 2012 – and both Boudia and Daley have not managed better than a third-placed finish at the opening two World Series events in Beijing and Dubai.
Boudia admits there is an ‘unspoken cheer squad’ amongst the other nations against the Chinese dominance.
‘The men’s platform that is probably the one where the gap is the least between the Chinese and the rest of the world,’ Boudia said.
‘I know that the Russians, Tom Daley and I, we want to beat the Chinese every single time. I don’t want Tom to beat me, and he doesn’t want me to beat him, but I think we do have this unspoken cheer squad of the world versus China.
‘They are very capable of missing dives. Hopefully we’ll see a lot of 10s flying around.’
After London 2012, Daley publicly admitted to suffering a post-Olympic let-down. In stark contrast, Boudia has hardly had a chance to let his emotions rest.
The 24-year-old Texan was married after London and, amid a glut of media commitments, also acted as a judge on the American version of the TV programme Splash!
Boudia is also set to become a father for the first time in September – he only found out the sex of his first-born the day before arriving in London on Wednesday.
Boudia believes the ‘whirlwind’ of changes in his life have allowed him to escape any sort of Olympic let-down, and thinks the steps Daley has taken in his own life will serve him well in the long term.
Daley has already admitted he has rediscovered his passion for diving after moving from his home-town Plymouth to London earlier this year, while the 19-year-old also left his long-time coach Andy Banks to join up with Jane Figueiredo to train at the London Aquatics Centre.
‘We all want comfort and be in our zone and not have things change a lot. Uncomfortable is good,’ Boudia said.
‘Obviously it is an individual basis that flips differently for athletes but I think change is extremely crucial and is beneficial for athletes.
‘When new comes in, obviously it is hard to handle but when you can handle that change, then obviously that makes you a stronger individual but also makes you a stronger athlete.
‘I think that is extremely important as a world-class athlete.’
Boudia has certainly returned to London with a different perspective, with shopping for baby clothes this time on the agenda.
‘Absolutely, I’ll have to look around,’ he said.
‘It is a bit different to two years ago. It has definitely been a crazy ride since the Olympics.
‘I’ve had the hardest year of my life but now my wife and I love each other even more than we did on our wedding day, our faith is stronger, and now we get to be parents too. We absolutely love kids.’