Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley had said that he hopes his stellar performance will inspire LGBT+ youth to realise “you can achieve anything”.
The 27-year-old diver won his first-ever gold medal earlier Monday (26 July) alongside his partner Matty Lee in the men’s synchronised 10 metres platform. The 2020 Tokyo games are Daley’s fourth time returning to an Olympic stadium and Lee’s first time. While he stood on the winners’ podium, an emotional Daley could be seen shedding a few tears as he was awarded his hard-earned medal alongside Lee.
The British diving team spoke to reporters after the ceremony about what the enormous win meant for them. Daley took the time to mention that there are more out LGBT+ athletes in this competition than “any other Olympic games previously”. There are at least 131 openly LGBT+ athletes competing at the Tokyo games – more than double the number that took part in the 2016 event in Rio.
Tom Daley shared that he felt like he was “alone”, “different” and “didn’t fit in” when he was younger. He described how he believed there was “something about me that was always never going to be as good as what society wanted me to be”.
“I feel incredibly proud to say I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion.”
Gold medal winner Tom Daley says he hopes his performance will inspire young LGBT people to realise “you can achieve anything”.
— LBC (@LBC) July 26, 2021
“I hope that any young LGBT+ person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone and that you can achieve anything,” Daley said. “There is a whole lot of your chosen family out here ready to support you.”
He continued: “I think it’s one of those things that I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion.
“I think it’s something that – I mean I feel very empowered by that because when I was younger I thought that I was never going to be anything or achieve anything because of who I was.
“And to be an Olympic champion now just shows that you can achieve anything.”
Tom Daley has taken home his first-ever gold medal in men’s synchronised diving 10m during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. (Instagram/@tomdaley)
Tom Daley first competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics when he was just 14 years old
The British diver has taken home bronze medals in the individual and synchronised 10 metre events at London 2021 and the Rio games in 2016. His new Olympic gold medal joins his several gold titles at the European, World and Commonwealth games where he has competed at the top-most level of diving.
The amazing team of Daley and Lee also won gold in the synchronised 10 metre platform at the European Championships in Budapest earlier this year, proving they are a powerhouse unto themselves.
Tom Daley told the BBC that this was the first Olympic games where he believed that he and Lee were “the ones to beat”. He explained that his husband, Dustin Lance Black, told him after the Rio games that his “story wasn’t finished” and that his eventual “son or child” needed to “watch me win an Olympic gold medal”.
“The fact that I can say my son watched me become Olympic champion, albeit on TV and they couldn’t be here, is such a great feeling,” Daley said.
He added that he will “carry on” with his diving career, but he will “definitely take a break” to celebrate his win with Black and their family.