'Proud that I am gay': Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley
Tom Daley delivered a stirring performance to secure gold on the synchronized 10-meter platform dive at the Tokyo Olympics. Daley, who's an out athlete, said he was proud of his achievement as a gay man, and hoped it would inspire members of the LGBT community to express themselves. Tom Daley and Matty Lee pipped China's Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by one point to win Olympic diving gold for Great Britain. “I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion. When I was younger I didn’t think I’d ever achieve anything because of who I was. To be an Olympic champion now just shows that you can achieve anything,” said Daley.
Daley first debuted at the Olympics almost 13 years ago, winning bronze medals in London and Rio. Even after winning gold in Tokyo, an incredible achievement, Daley spoke with incredible clarity while he was still damp from the pool. He opened up about the pressure he has endured over the past years as an out athlete, hoping it would give encouragement to others looking up to him. “In terms of out athletes, there are more openly out athletes at these Olympic Games than any Olympic Games previously. I came out in 2013 and when I was younger I always felt like the one that was alone and different and didn’t fit. There was something about me that was never going to be as good as what society wanted me to be. I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone. You can achieve anything,” said Daley.
Tom Daley is married to film producer Dustin Lance Black and has a son with him, Robbie. Daley knew the weight of his words, especially when delivered on a global platform. Not to mention that he had beaten Chinese and Russian athletes and was aware the footage was being broadcast to both countries, where same-sex still isn't legal. A Chinese journalist also asked about his son. “It’s been the most amazing, life-changing journey for me and I can’t wait to go and see them, my husband and my son, to give them a big hug and be able to celebrate on this incredible journey that it has been,” said Daley.
Tom Daley isn't ready to call it quits just yet, but is planning to take a break to celebrate his momentous win. “You want to win an Olympic gold medal but never think you actually will. I will carry on, but I will definitely take a break. There are some beverages with my name on it to celebrate with my husband and family," said Daley. "This means an incredible amount. All athletes put in such hard work and dedication into our performances. To be an Olympic champion after four attempts at it feels extremely special.”
Daley's only regret is that his Dad never got to see him hold aloft that gold medal. Tom Daley's father died when he was just 17 and was a pillar of support to him while growing up. “When he passed away in 2011 it was extremely difficult for me because he never saw me win an Olympic medal, get married, have a child. He never got to teach me to drive, have a pint down the pub."
For his diving partner Matty Lee, Tom Daley was his idol and it meant the world for him to be able to win gold alongside Daley. “I was a massive fan of Tom’s. I remember running up to him and asking for photos and signatures. I think I was about nine," said Matty Lee. “There’s a photo of me and Tom around the year of Beijing and it’s funny because I’m just a kid with a big head. We put them together with another photo that’s more recent. It’s funny how things change. All those years I was a fan, a little kid looking up to him. Now we’re best mates and Olympic gold medallists.”