The Summer Olympics wasn’t just about Phelps vs. Lochte, or smiling with Gabby Douglas while crying with Jordyn Wieber. It was also about those shower shots of British diver Tom Daley, bronze medalist in the men’s tense 10m platform competition. While NBC Olympic diving producer David Gibson insists he didn’t intentionally place graphics over the divers’ trunks to make them appear nude (“That was a coincidence,” he says, with a laugh), he does confirm that those Daley shower shots were, in fact, something he knew would be a hit with viewers. “I think we pretty much knew instantly, like yourself,” he says. “You could just tell. You could feel it in the truck. In the arena, when they put him up on the Jumbotron, people reacted to it.” For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes) coverage.
As told by: David Gibson
I’m glad you appreciated it. [Laughs] From a production standpoint, it makes it easier to know where the star is gonna go in between dives, and like a lot of athletes, Daley is a creature of habit. A lot of times, it’s tough to follow the divers. Some will run away backstage, and you try to get the shot we put the scoring graphic in. We were fortunate that Daley would go right to the showers and take his time there. The showers are perfect for that — there’s no obstructed views, and it’s a fun visual for fans at home, like yourself. Much like, let’s say, a pitcher in baseball wants to put on a jacket in between innings, same with diving — you want to stay warm. You dive in that cold pool, you want to be able to warm up and get your muscles relaxed a little bit, so you hop in the shower or hop in the tub. Some divers do both, some divers do one or the other. Tom was certainly aware that the cameras were on him, and we knew where to find him at all times. Like I said, it’s interesting: Some divers prefer to go backstage, gather their thoughts and prep, talk with their coaches, stretch, be away from the camera, away from the limelight. That’s not Tom. In the diving world, he’s like part rock star, part royalty. He knew where the cameras were at all times, always gave us a nice little wave, and it was good TV.
That final night of the men’s platform was incredible. I really don’t know if you could actually script it any better. You’ve got Daley, in many ways the face of the London Games, the teenager who had so much pressure. Then you’ve got the Chinese and the overwhelming favorite Qui Bo, who, for them, winning anything but gold is a huge disappointment for their country. And then [the USA’s] David Boudia, who barely made the cut. He finished 18th [in qualifying], the final position to advance to the semis. He’s trying to become the first American male to capture gold in the event since Greg Louganis in 1988, and it comes down to the final round. These three divers, these three stories. They’re in a virtual three-way tie going into it, and it’s anybody’s race. Daley goes first, and the arena transforms from frenzy, to pin-drop, to frenzy as he steps onto the platform, hits the water, and goes to the shower. He stays pool-deck, and he watches and cheers for Boudia, who passes him hitting the dive of his life scoring over 102. He takes the lead, and it comes down to Bo, final diver of the Olympics. It was a very good dive. The wait for the judges seems like an eternity, and in the end, it’s not enough. Boudia wins the gold. The Americans go nuts. The scene is just incredible. Then there’s Bo being consoled by his teammates for taking silver. And then there’s Daley, who finishes third and is so ecstatic with the bronze that he and the Brits go full pool party, jumping off the deck and into the pool in front of their home fans. This was my 10th Olympics, and it was an amazing, electric night — just the energy in the crowd, the energy in the truck. To have it come down to that final round, with those three players [Laughs] — it was quite a scene in the truck.