07 August 2021

Tom Daley says he hopes ‘out’ athletes make LGBT people feel less alone

07 August 2021

Tom Daley said he hopes seeing “out” athletes will make people feel valued and less alone as he won the fourth Olympic medal of his career.

The 27-year-old, who ended a 13-year wait for Olympic gold when he triumphed on the synchronised 10 metres platform last week alongside Matty Lee, came third in the solo 10 metres event on Saturday.

Following anti-LGBT commentary on Russian state television, Daley said history shows that society has been dictated from the “straight, white, male experience”.

Tom Daley during the men’s 10m platform final (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

Daley has been married for four years and has a son with husband American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

The Plymouth-born diver, who came out in 2013, is among a record number of LGBT+ athletes at these Games, some of whom have come in for offensive commentary from Russian state television.

Speaking after winning a bronze medal on Saturday, Daley said: “I had no idea. When we’re at the Olympics it’s kind of like we’re in a bubble and we don’t really see anything.”

Daley was reportedly referred to as “a British homosexual” on Russian state TV, and he told reporters: “History shows that everything that society is has been dictated from the straight, white, male experience.”

While he feels accepted by his own nation, Daley believes there is still a lot more that can be done worldwide.

“Of course it’s come a long way,” he said. “There’s still a lot further to go. There are 10 countries that are competing at these Olympic Games where being LGBT is punishable by death.

“I feel extremely lucky to be representing Team GB, to be able to stand on the diving board as myself with a husband and a son and not worry about any ramifications.

“But I know that I’m very fortunate to have that and that there are lots of people who grow up around the world with less fortunate situations.

“I just hope that seeing out sportspeople in all these different sports is going to help people feel less alone, feel like they are valued and can achieve something.”

After winning gold earlier in the Games, Daley said he hopes his victory acts as an inspiration for the LGBT community.

Great Britain’s Tom Daley during the Men’s 10m Platform Final (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

“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,” he said.

Earlier this week, the BBC said an International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman told them they were contacting the official Russian broadcaster, one of the two channels in question, to express their concern.

Daley said he is now going to have a bit of a break and “a couple of margaritas”.

He told the BBC: “I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone at home, and in particular to Lance, my husband.

“He has been my rock throughout this whole thing and has put up with me and sacrificed so much, moved to the UK so I can train.

“My mum, and of course my dad.

“I wish that my dad was here to have seen me at these Olympic Games winning two Olympic medals.

“He would be jumping up, and he’d probably be in the pool by now.

“I’m so overwhelmed with all the love and support back home.”

Daley’s father Robert died aged 40 from a brain tumour in 2011.

Following Daley’s success on Saturday, his husband tweeted: “Are you kidding me?! Another Olympic medal! Two for two!

“So so so proud of you my love! Now bring those medals home my sweet champion.”

Daley made his Olympic debut aged 14 and now has three bronze medals and one gold medal from his efforts at the Games over the years.

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