Croydon’s Olympic diver Blake Aldridge, previously most famous for having a poolside row with teenaged prodigy Tom Daley in the middle of their Beijing synchronized diving final, was today cleared of charges of attacking a supermarket security guard.
The Bromley Magistrates’ Court hearing took less than 10 minutes to determine that there was no evidence of the London 2012 hopeful had gone off his trolley.
Aldridge, 28, finished eighth with Daley at the Beijing Olympics, but the synchro partnership was ended after the Games, where the teenaged Daley complained that his diving partner was not concentrating on the event in hand because he made a mobile phone call from the pool deck.
Aldridge has had a dreadful couple of years since the Olympics. On top of his bust-up with Daley and career-interrupting injuries, Aldridge also suffered a vicious assault at a night club in January 2009.
This year the allegations of assault after a visit to Tesco in Beckenham have hung over the diver and affected his form and work opportunities.
After his court appearance, Aldridge, a former pupil of Stanley Tech in South Norwood (now Harris Academy), said that the allegations had “ruined my reputation and credibility”.
“It has had a massive knock-on effect,” he said. “I was working for a company going into schools nationwide encouraging kids into sport, but once this got out in the press two schools dropped me because they felt I was not an appropriate role model.”
Aldridge also noted that he was the only British team member at this month’s European championships in Budapest not to be invited to a pre-event training camp in Rome.
“It was made pretty clear to me by the performance director and other officials that they were concerned by what was going on and didn’t want me out there,” he said.
Aldridge qualified for the 10-metre platform individual final in Budapest but had to withdraw after injuring his arm.
“I want to take part in the 2012 Olympic Games,” he said. “My main goal is to get fit again, and then I’ll start thinking about competitions.
“Hopefully, now I can do something positive and go on with my career.”
“I feel that for the whole time this has been going on I have been treated like I was guilty, but hopefully now I can go back in to schools and try to inspire the children.”