British diver Tom Daley has been part of the LGBTQIA+ community since coming out in 2013. At the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, July 26 2021, Daley won his first gold medal for diving alongside fellow British diver Matty Lee making these games as the first in four where Daley has competed and won.
To celebrate the occasion, Daley delivered a speech that contained a heartfelt message of hope to young LGBTQIA+ people, reports TIME.
Daley was interviewed with Lee at the gold medal press conference, flanked by his Chinese and Russian competitors who won silver and bronze respectively. The duo were asked a series of questions about how they met and what it was like to win the historic gold for Great Britain.
After delivering a poignant answer about his late father, Daley brought up his son and his husband, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Black tweeted how proud he was of his husband and the speech he gave to LGBTQIA+ youth.
“My son got to watch me become an Olympic champion, and there is nothing that feels more special than that because at the end of the day I am first and foremost a father and a husband. The fact I have won an Olympic gold medal on top of that alongside Matty, is honestly a dream come true,” said Daley.
Daley also used that opportunity to send a message of hope. “When I was younger, I always felt like I was the one that was alone and different and didn’t fit in and that there was something about me that was 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 alone you feel right now you are not alone and that you can achieve anything. There is a whole lot of your chosen family here ready to support you. I think it’s one of those things that I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion,” continued Daley.
According to an article by NBC News, the 2021 Tokyo Olympics sets a record for having the most publicly out LGBTQIA+ athletes. It is estimated that over 160 participants of these games will be out and this sets a historic precedent for the elite sporting community.
Being flanked by the Chinese and Russian winners of silver and bronze, Daley’s inspirational and heartfelt message would have been broadcast to both countries where the sentiment towards LGBTQIA+ individuals is less than accepting, reports TIME.
Throughout his 13-year career as a diver for Team Great Britain, Daley has won bronze twice at the 2012 and 2016 games, but his performance with Matty Lee finally makes Daley the champion that he always dreamed of being.