Leon Taylor

This article is about the Olympic diver. For the Governor of New Jersey, see Leon R. Taylor. For The Bill Character, see Leon Taylor (The Bill).
Leon Taylor
Personal information
Full name Leon Taylor
Born (1977-11-02) 2 November 1977
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Residence Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
Height 178 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Country Great Britain
Event(s) 10 m platform,
10 m synchro
Partner Peter Waterfield
Retired 29 May 2008

Leon Taylor (born 2 November 1977) is a British former competitive diver.


Taylor was born and educated in Cheltenham where he attended Bournside School.[1] He was hyperactive as a child and his parents were advised to channel his energies and enthusiasm into sport. He was a swimmer and gymnast from the age of two and took up competitive diving when he was eight. By the age of 11 he was a national champion. He trained at Cheltenham Leisure Centre under Dave Turner and then Ian Barr until 1996. He was a mentor to Cheltenham Diving Club youngster, Daniel McGlone, who in hand became National Champion aged just 9 years old. McGlone went on to win multiple National and International events.

Diving career

Taylor represented Great Britain at three Summer Olympic Games and was a member of the Great Britain team for 16 years winning medals at all major international championships.[2] In the diving events at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, he won the Silver medal in the men's synchronised 10-metre platform, with partner Peter Waterfield. It was Britain's first Olympic diving medal since Brian Phelps in 1960. He had come fourth in the same competition in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Other achievements include Silver in the men's 10 m platform at the 2002 Commonwealth Games (he had won Bronze in 1998), and Bronze in the 10 m synchro at the 1999 European Aquatics Championships. At a national level, Taylor held both the 10 m platform and 10 m synchro titles from 1994 to 2006.[2]

He trained with other members of the British team in the Ponds Forge swimming complex in Sheffield.

In 1998 Leon invented the 5255b; a back 2.5 somersaults, 2.5 twists[3][4] which at the time was the World's most difficult dive with a tariff of 3.8. Following a rule change in 2009, the dive now carries a tariff of 3.6.[5]

Retirement and post-competitive career

Although Taylor had been planning to compete at the 2008 Summer Olympics, he announced his retirement from competition in May of that year following a number of injuries.[6]

Between 2006 – 2008, he also completed an HNC (Higher National Certificate) Business and Finance from Sheffield Hallam University. [7]

Taylor now works as a public speaker, presenter, conference host, BBC commentator and mentor to members of the British team.[8]

In January 2013, Taylor was named as a judge on the ITV celebrity diving show Splash!. He returned to judge on the show in its second series, airing in 2014.[9]

Taylor has published a book on the subject of mentoring.[10] Taylor had planned, and booked, a once in a lifetime trip to New Zealand with his girlfriend when 'Splash' came about instead.[11]

In 2016 Taylor was part of the BBC commentary team for the diving events at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.


  1. "Cheltenham diving star Leon Taylor has leant his support to teenage prodigy Tom Daley. | Gloucester Citizen". Thisisgloucestershire.co.uk. 29 April 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Sporting achievements of Olympic medallist Leon Taylor". Leontaylor.co.uk. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  3. "Q&A with Leon Taylor". LloydsTSB. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  4. "The fundamentals of diving". British Swimming.
  5. "FINA Table of Degree of Difficulty" (PDF). Fina.org. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  6. Cheese, Caroline (29 May 2008). "Diver Taylor announces retirement". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 29 May 2008.
  7. "Notable alumni". shu.ac.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  8. "About Leon.". Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  9. "Who will join Tom Daley on the high board? Splash! celebrity contestants announced". The Independent. London. 2 January 2013.
  10. "Mentor – The Book". Leon Taylor.
  11. https://aquaticregister.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/61/
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