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Matty Lee

“If I’m struggling, I just think of what dad might say to me.”

Matty Lee reckons a more ‘relaxed’ partnership with Noah Williams will provide the bedrock for his Olympic title defence.

The 25-year-old topped the 10m synchro rostrum with Tom Daley in Tokyo, but now assumes extra responsibility as the more experienced member of the team alongside 23-year-old Williams.

Although the partnership is in its relative infancy, Lee believes last summer's Commonwealth Games gold medal offered a glimpse of their Paris potential.

“It will be very tough to top Tokyo,” said Lee. “Tom is an incredible diver. He was a world champion at age 14. In a way, he made diving a popular sport.

“Noah is very different to Tom. Tom was such a big figure, so I was in his shadow a bit. My presence isn’t as strong as Tom, but it’s nice to get my own respect since Tom hasn’t been there.

“Noah is more relaxed than Tom. Me and Noah are closer age wise, for example, Tom had a kid, so he was a lot more ahead of life.

“We’re more relatable and Tom and I were so different. Noah and I are very much in a position to fight for top spot.”

Lee is one of over 1,000 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing him to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering medical support – this is vital for his pathway to the Paris 2024 Games.

And with the Paris 2024 Olympics only one year away, the Games are set to inspire people and communities all across the country. Lee hopes that by sharing his story it will give others motivation to get involved into sport.

The behind-closed-doors Games was very different to what awaits Lee and Williams next year in the French capital.

Matty Lee by Imagecomms

“The interesting thing about Tokyo is that we were going through the pandemic so in a weird way it helped me because I had no distractions outside of training,” he recalled.

“This allowed me to really focus on being a strict professional athlete. That did help me but also the knowledge of all that I know I can be strict on myself and that’s the thing I will take on from Tokyo.”

Lee’s world was rocked in middle of the Olympic cycle following the death of his father Tim, a former technician at the University of Leeds.

Lee took just two weeks off from training following his father's tragic passing and has seen little of his mother and brother since, but he believes all three will play an instrumental part in his potential success next year.

“I haven't had time to process the whole situation, with losing my dad and I feel like there's an added light on me,” said Lee.

“My family are supportive and are always helping. They are great people to have around me and it’s hard to not spend time with them. I owe my career to my brother since he started diving before me.

“If I’m struggling, I just think of what dad might say to me.”

Discover more grassrots to glory stories of athletes like Matty Lee by following #TNLAthletes.

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