Fresh off his gold medal performance in the recently concluded Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, diver Tom Daley sat down with the BBC to share his thoughts on a host of subjects, ranging from the emotions he felt after winning his first Olympic gold as a gay man, to the joys of his latest obsession of knitting.
“Winning an Olympic gold medal has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid, and to have that medal put round my neck by Matty was just a total dream come true,” Daley told the BBC, later adding he was “not a crier usually” but that he was “overwhelmed with all kinds of emotions” during the medal ceremony.
“I was trying to sing the national anthem,” Daley said. “I just couldn't. I was a mess.”
As a gay Olympian, Daley revealed he felt “incredibly lucky to be from Great Britain and being able to stand on that diving board and not feel afraid of any ramifications, or even fear for my life,” although he appeared in high spirits following the medal ceremony.
He was mindful there are still “countries where being gay is punishable by death” and that he again felt “incredibly lucky to be able to dive and not have those ramifications.”
Representation for the community as an Olympic athlete was key for Daley, in part, he said, because when he “was younger, there weren't many out athletes that were still competing” and in the public eye.
“Lots of people would come out after they had retired, so I just hope that winning an Olympic gold medal, winning any Olympic medal, going to the Olympics as a gay person, a member of the LGBT community” would send a message of hope and inspiration to “any young kids out there” having difficulty accepting who they are.
One of those countries where LGBTQ+ rights are threatened is Russia. Daley was roasted recently on Russian television where hosts on Rossiya 1 Network's 60 Minutes show called Daley “a British homosexual” after his bronze medal win, while referring to Russian competitor Aleksandr Bondar as “a normal guy.”
Daley also shared some thoughts on his now-viral knitting skills.
Not to be confused with crocheting, Daley said he uses knitting as a form of “mindfulness” to help deal with his restlessness. He continued, saying the inspiration for knitting came from his husband, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.
“It was actually Lance who said that on set, people will knit squares just to pass the time and I was like, 'OK, I'll try that.' So I started trying it, and fell in love with it and here we are.”
Delay also revealed knitting is more than just a casual hobby to calm his nerves.
“When I say I'm obsessed with knitting, I was knitting on the way, on the bus to the pool, on the bus home from the pool, in the stands, whenever I had a spare moment,” he explained. “While the other boys in our apartment were playing video games, I would just sit and knit. I'd wake up and if I had time to sit and knit, I would just continually knit.”
While Daley spent a lot of time knitting in the Olympic Village it was not his only way he spent his spare time. It may not be an obsession, but Daley also showed he was one heck of a lollipop lover when he and fellow Team GB diver Noah Williams posted a TikTok showing off all the condoms provided to Olympians at the Village.
Daley is now back at home with his loving husband and their adorable son, Robert “Robby” Ray Black-Daley. It’s probably safe to say he’ll be knitting while they all admire his first Olympic gold medal, which he hopes shows other LGBTQ+ athletes that you don’t have to settle for less than what you can achieve.
“No matter who you are, where you come from, you can be the best in the world,” Daley said.
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