Jack Laugher and Chris Mears admit they battled with the realisation of achieving a lifelong dream after winning Olympic gold medals.
Laugher and Mears became Great Britain’s first Olympic diving champions in Rio last August with victory in the synchronised 3m springboard event, upsetting the favourites from China.
Speaking ahead of the World Championships in Budapest, Laugher reflected on how returning to diving after a break of two and a half months provided the stability he needed.
“To be surprise winners... to actually win the Olympic Games was very difficult to deal with afterwards,” said Laugher.
“I struggled and went down a bit. I had no routine, because I was taking time off.
“It was really good fun, but at the same time, going from such a high and back to normality is very difficult.
“For me, diving ended up being the saviour. I ended up getting back into a routine and had something to get up for in the morning.
“I hate coming back to training not with my heart and mind into it. If you’re forced to come back at a time that you don’t want to, it feels too hard and the passion dies a little bit. I always want to be passionate about what I do.”
Mears also found it challenging, having briefly considered retirement before opting to continue, including the FINA World Series event in Beijing in March.
“Competing again, being Olympic champion standing up on the board was a little bit daunting,” said Mears, 24.
“I felt the pressure of being Olympic champion and what that meant. I didn’t mentally feel ready to compete again.
“I don’t feel like that any more.”
Laugher and Mears will bid to add the world title to their list of achievements today, while Laugher, silver medallist in Rio, is in individual competition, too.