He’s a TV star and a lover of crochet. And now at his fourth Olympics, Tom Daley is finally an Olympic gold medal winner.
Team GB’s Daley ended his long wait to top an Olympic podium after winning the men’s synchronized 10-meter diving competition with his partner Matty Lee on Monday.
The British duo had to wait while Chinese pairing Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen completed their final dive at Tokyo 2020, breaking into emotional celebrations once it became clear they had won gold.
Having never dropped out of the top two throughout the competition, the British duo finished with 471.81 points, 1.23 ahead of China, with the Russian Olympic Committee third.
It is Daley’s third Olympic medal – he won bronze in both 2012 and 2016, after making his Olympic debut in 2008 as a 14-year-old.
The 27-year-old could be seen in tears as the British national anthem – “God Save The Queen” – played during the medal ceremony.
“Oh my goodness, it’s kind of unbelievable,” Daley told reporters afterwards. “I’ve dreamt, as has Matty, since I started diving 20 years ago, for this moment of becoming an Olympic champion. And it to take it to my fourth Olympic Games, when I think a lot of people probably would have not considered it to be my peak Olympic Games.
“I thought I was going to win an Olympic gold medal in Rio, and that turned out the complete opposite by a long shot. And it was my husband who said to me that my story wasn’t finished, and my son or child – we didn’t know at the time – needed to be there to watch me win an Olympic gold medal.”
In December 2013, Daley came out on YouTube, and almost eight years later, the Briton is proud of the LGBT representation that he’s witnessed at the Games.
“When I was a little boy, I felt like an outsider, and felt different, and I felt like I was never going to be anything, because who I was, wasn’t what society wanted me to be,” he said.
“And to be able to see out LGBT people performing at the Olympic Games, I hope (that) can give young kids hope and not feel so frightened and scared and alone, and to be able to see that no matter who you are, where you come from, you can become an Olympic champion, because I did.”
Daley’s husband is Dustin Lance Black. Their son – Robert Ray Black-Daley – was born in June 2018.
“The fact that I can say that my son watched me become Olympic champion- - albeit on TV and they couldn’t be here – is just, it’s such a great feeling. And to be able to do (it) with your best mate as well. And to share that moment where you’re at the back of the podium,” added Daley.
After the 2012 Olympics, Daley acted as the mentor for a group of celebrities competing on the reality TV program “Splash” – a show which pitted celebrities against one another as they attempted to learn how to dive.
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Hard work pays off
Daley’s gold medal success marks a new career pinnacle for the 27-year-old who having burst onto the scene as a youngster, had the hopes of a nation placed on his shoulders.
A year before the 2012 London Games, Daley’s father died from a brain tumor, the British diver has previously described his Dad as his “biggest cheerleader.”
And since then, the British diver has made steps to try and raise money to help others in a similar position.
He told the Guardian earlier this year he took up crochet earlier in the pandemic, and now has an Instagram displaying some of his creations.
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On his Crowdfunder page, he said he plans to “slowly raffle off my makes and hope to raise a lot of money for Charity.”
So far he’s posted photos of himself, his husband and his son decked out in the jazzy colors, as well as Malaysian diver Cheong Jun Hoong.
After his Olympic victory on Monday, Daley’s husband Black said he had “no words” but just “so so many tears” after Daley become an Olympic champion.