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A month of highs and lows for Leon
Date: 24/12/2007

  Leon at Take That concert  
Yet again it has been a busy month since I last wrote to you and a mix of highs and lows. I'll begin with a high and my visit to the 02 Arena in London. A while ago I did some work with BT and they rang me to see if I wanted to go to a concert at the arena. When I found out it was to see Take That I wasn't sure it was my thing but I am so glad I went as it was fantastic. When Take That was big the first time round they were seen as rivals to 16 and 17 year old boys like me because all girls fancied Mark Owen or Robbie Williams. It was interesting to see them perform all these years later and I had a great evening. They put on a really good show.

One of my close friends, Mark and his wife recently had a baby and I went to see their new baby girl, Anais. I am always a little nervous round babies and she was only a few days old but it was nice to see her and have a cuddle. You can see Anais in
  Leon with Anais  
this month's pictures.

Team GB is sponsored by DIY store B&Q and as part of this I regularly do some work with them. This time I opened a new store in Widnes. This involved cutting the ribbon to open the store, having photographs taken and chatting to staff about how training is going etc.

The big event of the month was our trip to Montreal, which I mentioned in my last blog. This was for an international competition. We arrived on the Sunday to temperatures of -16 ̊C. When you walked outside the airport it felt like your throat had been cut as it was so cold. The next morning we woke up to over 4ft of snow!!! I have never seen anything like it. People were coming out of their houses with a shovel and literally had to dig their cars out of the snow. I certainly won't ever complain about having to de-ice my car again as it took them about and hour and a half to clear enough snow just to move their cars.

  Leon in Montreal  
A lot of the week was spent training before the competition. Unfortunately I had been experiencing pain in my lower abdomen and had to battle through the pain in the build up to the competition. Before the synchronised event began our aim was to beat the teams from America and Cuba who were third and fourth in the World Championships. Pete and I had some fantastic dives and beat both teams and we finished in second place. We were just beaten into first place by Blake Aldridge and Tom Daley, the other team competing from Great Britain. You may have heard about Tom Daley as he won this year's BBC Junior Sports Personality of the Year and is only 13 years old. This is the first time Pete and I have ever been beaten by another pairing from Team GB. Obviously we were delighted for Tom and Blake who put in an excellent performance but it was also disappointing that Pete and I didn't finish on top.

The bad news is the pain in my lower abdomen hasn't improved and over the last week I have
  Leon at the competition  
been seeing my sports doctor. I have been diagnosed with a hernia and am going to need surgery to repair it. I am now waiting to hear when I will be operated on and in the meantime will be doing minimal training. It is difficult to dive as I will be putting more strain on the hernia but I am able to do work in the gym and ensure I am completely fit for my operation so I can return to fitness as soon as possible. Unfortunately it means I will miss the National Championships in January. I expect to be operated on in the next few weeks and aim to be competing again in a few months time. I am very determined not to let this stop me from reaching my goal of a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing! Competing at this level is never easy and there is always a risk of injury or illness, I just have to always remain upbeat and positive and not lose sight of what I want to achieve.

May I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


We will have a new athlete next month, find out who it is soon?

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