Tom Daley sends rallying cry to LGBTQ youth: "You are not alone"

Tom Daley, along with diving partner Matty Lee, finally found himself at the top of the leader board to win his first Olympic gold medal - and he used this opportunity to speak directly to LGBTQ youth.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Tom Daley: Olympic champion.

Those are the words the 27-year-old has wanted to hear ever since he made his Olympic debut in Beijing 13 years ago.

And he finally did it in Tokyo alongside his synchronised diving partner Matty Lee.

Filled with emotion on the podium, Daley went on to speak directly to LGBTQ+ youth after winning the elusive gold, opening up on his own experiences.

“When I was young, I always felt like the one that was alone and different and didn’t fit in, and there was something about me that was always never going to be as good as what society wanted me to be,” he said.

“I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how along you feel right now, you are not alone, and you can achieve anything.

“And there is a whole lot of your chosen family out here ready to support you.”

And Daley, who came out in late 2013, expresses his pride in winning an Olympic gold after thinking he would never be able to reach the heights that he has.

I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic Champion.

“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 champion now just shows that you can do anything,” Daley adds.

Tom Daley finally winning Olympic gold 
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

How Daley was part of an Olympic Games that made history

Not only will Tom Daley walk away from Tokyo with the gold medal he has so long desired, but he will also leave knowing that he was a part of history..

179 - It's a number that can be seen as minuscule for some yet ultimately represents a watershed moment for the LGBTQ+ community at the Olympics.

As reported by Outsports, there are at least 179 publicly out LGBTQ athletes at Tokyo 2020.

This number has significantly surpassed the 23 at London and 56 at Rio by some way - and Daley has been among those athletes to speak openly about their sexuality following success in their events.

USA swimmer, Erica Sullivan, followed in the footsteps of Daley giving an open interview where she talked about her identity with pride.

Sullivan, who won silver in the women’s 1500m, labelled herself the ‘epitome of the American person’ in a presser that followed her second place finish.

“I’m multicultural, I’m queer and a lot of minorities in that sense, and that’s what America is.

“Me getting to be on the podium in Japan as an Asian-American woman, and getting to take silver in a historical women’s event for the first time as someone who likes women and identifies as gay is just so cool – it’s awesome,” she said.

Daley's openness since first coming out has lauded him a pioneer, especially for publicly out LGBTQ athletes at an Olympic Games, and his bravery continues to be reflected as the number of those athletes will continue to rise.

And 20-year-old Sullivan demonstrates just how big that legacy is, regardless of whether or not he wears a medal around his neck.

Daley on the support of his husband and son

Though family couldn't join athletes out in Tokyo, many were up at all hours supporting from home, and Tom Daley's husband and son were among them.

And Daley reveals that having his son has changed his view on diving and the pressure he puts on himself.

"He [his son] is my biggest support, he's the person that I come home to and just give a hug to if I've dived well in training or if I've done terribly and to always go home to my son and have that unconditional love has changed my perspective on diving.

"I feel that pressure that I used to define myself on how well I used to do in diving and to be able to be like, I'm a father and to come home from that and leave everything at the pool and come home and be a dad, it's been the most amazing life changing journey for me," said Daley.

Even with the success he's had so far in Tokyo, he still expresses his eagerness to be reunited with his family and take it all in with them.

"I can't wait to go and see them, my husband and my son, to give them a big hug and just to be able to celebrate on this incredible journey that it's been," he added.

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