Words: Will Stroude
Tom Daley has shared an inspiring message with the world's media after winning his first Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020.
The Team GB star, who won gold in the men's 10m synchro with partner Matty Lee on Monday (26 July), used his post-event press conference to reflect on his rare position as an out gay male Olympic champion.
British pair Tom and Matty pipped rivals China to the post by less than two points in the Japanese capital on Monday (26 July) as they secured Team GB's second gold medal of the Games. Tom is the first out gay man to secure a medal at Tokyo 2020.
As the Guardian notes, Tom's ensuing comments about his sexuality and sporting excellence in front of Chinese and Russian journalists reporting on their own nations' silver and bronze finishes made the moment all the sweet: both Russia and China continue to lag behind when it comes to LGBTQ acceptance.
"I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion", Tom declared. "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."
"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."
The 27-year-old former Attitude cover star added: "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."
In a reminder that representation matters on the world's biggest sporting stages, the Guardian reports that a Chinese journalist enquired about Tom's son Robbie, aged 3.
Tom replied: “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.”