Tom Daley Proud to Be 'a Gay Man and Also an Olympic Champion’ After Earning First Gold Medal
By Stacy Lambe
British diver Tom Daley is making history as one of the record number of out LGBTQ athletes competing at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, where he also took home his first gold medal on Monday. With his diving partner, Matty Lee, Daley landed at the top of the podium in the men’s synchronized 10-meter diving competition.
Following the win, Daley, who came out in 2013 and is married to screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, told the Olympic News Service, “I feel incredibly proud to say that I’m a gay man and also an Olympic champion.”
“And I feel very empowered by that because when I was younger, I thought 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,” he continued.
“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.”
The Tokyo Games marks Daley’s fourth time competing at the Olympics in diving. In 2012, during the London Games, the athlete came in third, marking his first medal in the competition. In 2008, he placed seventh and in 2016, he placed 18th.
On Monday, with a total score of 471.81 points, Daley and Lee edged out China's Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by 1.23 points. Later in the Games, Daley and Yuan, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, will face off again in the individual 10-meter platform diving event.
Daley’s place at the top of the podium has been a 20-year journey for the athlete, who saw his hopes for gold dashed in 2016. “I thought I was going to win an Olympic gold medal in Rio, and that turned out the complete opposite by a long shot,” he told reporters.
He then also referenced his husband and their son, Robbie Ray Black-Daley. “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,” he continued, before later adding, “The fact that I can say that my son watched me become an Olympic champion -- albeit on TV and they couldn’t be here -- is just, it’s such a great feeling.”