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Tom Daley hits back after Russian state TV’s homophobic slurs against LGBTQ Olympians

The Olympic champion, 27, has responded after Russian state-owned TV branded LGBTQ athletes an "abomination" and a "perversion".

By Will Stroude

Words: Will Stroude

Tom Daley has hit back after Russian state-owned television made a series of vile homophobic remarks about both him and other LGBTQ Olympians during coverage of Tokyo 2020.

The International Olympic Committee has launched an investigation after Russian networks branded LGBTQ athletes an “abomination” and a “perversion” during coverage of the Games.

iNews reports that presenters on Rossiya 1 Network’s 60 Minutes show painted Russian diver Aleksandr Bondar as a “normal guy” while describing Daley, 27, as “a British homosexual”.

Over images of Daley with husband Dustin Lance Black and son Robbie, 3, presenter Olga Skabeyeva said: “In Britain, of course, they have their own values. If these guys weren’t raising a child together, then it’d be their business.

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She added: “They at least compete with other blokes.”

Olympic champion Daley beat Bondar in both the men’s 10m individual and sychro platform events.

Meanwhile, on Russia’s Channel One, male presenter Anatoly Kuzichev also wore a wig to mock New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who became the first transgender woman to compete at an Olympic Games.

Asked about the vile broadcasts, Daley: “I had no idea. When we’re at the Olympics, we’re in a bubble and we don’t really see anything.”

The four-time Olympic medal winner and father-of-one continued: “History shows that everything that society is has been dictated from the straight, white, male experience.

“If we could come together and use different points of view, the world would be a better place.”

Daley – who had previously spoken of his pride at becoming an out gay Olympic champion after winning gold in the 10m sychro platform with partner Matty Lee – continued: “There are 10 countries competing at these Olympics where being LGBT is punishable by death.

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“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 have to worry about any ramifications.

“There are lots of people who grow up around the world in less fortunate situations.

“I just hope that seeing ‘out’ sportspeople will help people to feel like they are less alone, like they are valued, like they can achieve something.

“When I was growing up, I always knew I was different. I always heard people saying bad things.

“You never feel as if you can say anything. You swallow yourself up, and you feel like you’re never going to be anyone.

“It takes a lot to come out and speak openly. It can be quite daunting and scary for people, especially in sports where the fanbases might not be as accepting.

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“I didn’t realise the impact it would have on people around the world to live as myself. I feel extremely proud of that.”

The IOC confirmed to the BBC, who first reported on the Russian broadcasts, that it has launched an investigation into the coverage. 

“We have been in contact with our contractual broadcasting partner in Russia in order to get clarity on the situation and to underline the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter,” a statement read.

“We are following up accordingly.”

The statement added: “Discrimination has absolutely no place at the Olympic Games.”