leeds diver Yona Knight-Wisdom has several very good reasons to be excited about this evening’s opening ceremony.
Usain Bolt is one reason and Yohan Blake is another. But the 21-year-old hopes he will not be starstruck upon walking out with team Jamaica, with the Leeds ace having already lived the high life with Levi Roots.
Knight-Wisdom, 21, is one of six divers from the City of Leeds Diving Club set to feature at the Rio Olympics, but with something of a twist. Because while Jack Laugher, Chris Mears, Becky Gallantree, Alicia Blagg and Lois Toulson all represent Team GB, Knight-Wisdom will compete for Jamaica, qualifying for the nation through his dad Trevor.
It means the diver will link up with some big names in this evening’s opening ceremony, but Knight-Wisdom himself is clearly becoming big news – just ask Jamaican TV personality Roots, famed for turning his spicy Reggae Reggae Sauce into a worldwide product on Dragon’s Den.
Knight-Wisdom laughed: “I’m not sure about me having a celebrity lifestyle but when I went down to London on my birthday I tweeted Levi saying I was at his restaurant. I think he rang up and told them to give me a cocktail and say it was on the house.
“I was not supposed to be drinking but I broke it just for that one celebratory drink!”
Dedicated Knight-Wisdom certainly has plenty to celebrate having booked his ticket to Rio in style when winning a silver medal in the men’s 3m springboard at February’s Diving World Cup, which was also held in Rio.
Suddenly, after merely holding dreams of getting to the Olympics, Knight-Wisdom thinks he could be in with a genuine shout.
He said: “The medal at the World Cup has given me a lot of confidence to be able to go out and perform like that at the Olympics as well, especially because it’s going to be the same pool, the same outdoor environment. I know that some of the divers struggle with that kind of environment and it’s going to be winter there as well so it may be even worse weather conditions than we had at the World Cup.
“That does leave the door open for people like myself if I can put down some good consistent dives. For me, I’d love to be able to make an Olympic final but I’d love to be able to make the top eight to qualify for the World Series next year, because that would be a great experience for me next year and another set of goals to aim for next year.”
There is, though, already a massive degree of pride at merely getting to the Games – the achievement of which will no doubt hit home tonight.
Knight-Wisdom pondered: “I am going to be walking out in front of however many thousands of fans at the opening ceremony with Usain Bolt my team-mate with Yohan Blake my team mate with Asafa Powell my team mate with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce my team mate. That’s going to be absolutely phenomenal.”