Diver Tom Daley has thanked his husband, son and mother for “helping him to feel so loved” and supported in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, after breaking British Olympic diving records.
After winning the bronze in the 10-metre platform diving on Saturday, Daley told Sky News that his family and team had helped him “fly higher than I ever thought I would fly” and said he was “extremely grateful” to them.
The 27-year-old is now the first British diver to win four Olympic medals, after scooping a gold medal in the synchronised event alongside Matty Lee earlier in the competition, and bronzes at the London and Rio Olympics in 2012 and 2016 respectively.
Daley ‘really happy’ about Olympics success
He said he was delighted just to “come back and actually make the final” in the platform event after failing to qualify for it in Rio. And “not only that”, he added, but to “come away with another Olympic medal – I am so extremely proud of myself and my team around me”.
Daley thanked his team, including his coach, physio, nutritionists and psychologist, as well as “my husband and my son, and my mum”, who he said helped him “feel so loved and supported throughout these last 18 months”.
He said it is “challenging” being a sportsperson and a parent, but he is a father to three-year-old son Robbie first and foremost, and that has changed his perspective.
“Because you know that you are going to go home to your little one and they’re going to love you regardless of how you do, which takes a lot of pressure off,” he said.
However, being a parent does make it harder to travel far from home, he added. “You kind of feel guilty for being away but then you want to do the best that you can because you’re away from them, so you want to make the most of it.
“Of course parents are torn but at the same time I don’t think we would change it for the world… Robbie inspires me every single day. I’m just super excited to get home and give lots of cuddles, obviously.”
Great Britain’s Tom Daley flew into bronze place in the men’s 10m diving platform final
One of the big features of Tom’s time in Tokyo has been his knitting, which he told Sky News is part of a mindfulness practice.
“I love knitting. I know it sounds really weird to say,” he said, adding that he started teaching himself from online videos in March 2020, just before lockdown started.
“It’s just been my way of finding calm, focus, mindfulness, a nice healthy distraction.”
He said there can be a lot of “thinking and waiting around” for something to happen during the three weeks in the Olympics, so “having that distraction has really helped me”.
Tom Daley secures fourth Olympic medal
In a separate interview, Daley hinted that he might compete at the next Olympics in Paris in three years’ time.
“I hear of rumours through the grapevine that they might put in the mixed synchro events or a team event into diving, which would mean three more events – that might be worth sticking around for,” he told the PA news agency.
Daley, who came out in 2013, is among some LGBT+ athletes at these Olympic Games to have been the subject of offensive commentary from Russian state television.
“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,” he said.
“Of course it’s come a long way,” he added. “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.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is reportedly looking into the issue and said “discrimination has absolutely no place at the Olympic Games”.