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Greetings from the Far East,

Just call me David Davies, friend of the stars!

I've been hanging out in the Olympic village with some basketball heroes and the great Michael Phelps, the new Olympic gold medal record holder.

I was chilling out the other day when the United States' basketball 'Dream Team' strutted over as naturally Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, two icons of American sport, would want to spend their down-time with a boy from Barry!

I bumped into that huge Chinese basketball player Yao Ming as I walked back from breakfast the other day. Well, bump into him is probably the wrong phrase as at 7ft 6ins, you can hardly miss the guy. He's a giant!

I've huge respect for Phelps, a fellow swimmer and an absolute legend of our sport.

It's hard to believe that he's a couple of months younger than me yet Phelps has already broken the record for Olympic gold medals.

Winning just one would be the realisation of a childhood dream for me, but to win eleven is a phenomenal achievement which can be put on a pedestal with any great sporting milestone.

Going back to star-spotting for a minute, my room-mate and fellow Welshie Tom Haffield topped the lot when he had breakfast with the great Rafael Nadal.

Eating your four Weetabix while chatting with the Wimbledon champion and world number one tennis player isn't something that happens everyday to a 20-year-old lad from Neath.

But that's a reason why the Olympic Games is so special because Tom will never forget - and probably not let me forget - about the day Nadal wanted to share his morning meal with him!

With so much potential star-gazing, I'm surprised I haven't seen Patrick Moore around the Olympic village somewhere.

But seriously, it's important for me to not to get star-struck as among this company is where I rightly want to be.

I don't want to be a minnow that is just at an Olympics to fill up his autograph book so I cannot get distracted by star-spotting.

My Olympic bronze medal from Athens 2004 is something I'll treasure forever but that's in the past, I want to better that this year.

I'm here to do myself, my family and my country proud, I'm here to do something special.

I want people to say 'Look who's over there? It's David Davies, Olympic swimming champion.'

Not to fulfil any ego trip but I've worked hard since I was a little kid. I have a single-mind focus to become the best and winning an Olympic gold would be the fulfilment of a mission as well as a dream.

The day of reckoning is almost upon me as I start my 1500m freestyle Olympic bid and I'm chilled.

Everyone says how relaxed I am. Even my mum told me the other day 'you're smiling more on TV than you do at home' but I'm calm and in a very happy psychological place.

I know I've done all the work required so why be nervous, I've just got the cash in all of the training for some Olympic bling!

There's obviously a buzz and adrenalin deep inside but I've got to contain that until Friday (1115 BST), ready for when the starting gun goes.

I've ignored all the potential distractions of the Olympic village; I'm totally focused on the job in hand.

Yet I have nothing to prove to anyone.

People talk about expectation and pressure but I'm only just ranked inside the top ten in the 1500m, so if I do anything it'll be something of a shock.

But I've made some tough choices in order to give myself the best chance of Olympic success.

I left home and Dave Haller, my coach of 14 years at Cardiff Swimming Club, to move to the British Swimming's HQ at Loughborough where the national coaches, medical back-up and support services are based.

I had become stuck in a rut in Wales and I trained on auto pilot, the drive wasn't there any more and I felt I was training just for the sake it.

I lost the buzz and thrill of training. It is hard enough swimming 80k a week, but it's even tougher if you don't enjoy it.

I needed to get out my comfort zone and needed a new stimulus.

Cardiff is a great club and I felt physically sick when I told Dave how I felt, it was the hardest decision of my life - but Dave's a top coach and great man-manager, he understood.

But the move has made me more mature, broadened my horizons and I've even learned how to cook!

Seriously, though, I didn't want to die wondering and it has certainly given me a new lease of life as I'm training with older, more experienced guys who you compete with in training.

We'll soon see if my big decision pays the ultimate dividends.

Wish me luck.

Swimming star David Davies, 23, from Cardiff, won an Olympic bronze medal in 1500m Freestyle at the 2004 Games in Athens and competes in that event again in Beijing, as well as the inaugural 10km Open Water event. His previous diary entries are on 606. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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