In celebration of the upcoming Olympics, we will be looking at a LGBT British athlete each week for a little while, with each day bringing new content about the athlete for you to enjoy. This week, we will be looking at everyone’s favourite, Tom Daley.
Even though Tom is undoubtedly one of the most popular athletes in the gay scene, some may not know who he is or too much about him, especially if they’re only just becoming invested in the Olympics. So, to kick off our week of Tom Daley, let’s take a look at some information on him.
Tom Daley is a 21-year-old athlete from Plymouth, Devon who began started diving at seven and has been involved in competitions from the age of nine. He specialises in the 10 metre platform event and in 2009 won the FINA World Championships at just 15.However, what really thrust Tom into the public eye for most people, was the 2008 summer Olympics.
It was here that Daley earned the European 10m Platform gold in Beijing, where he ultimately finished seventh. I won’t be going into too much detail regarding his many achievements here, as I will be focusing on that later in a separate piece.
One last thing I will mention though, is undoubtedly the moment that solidified him as a solid contender for Britain and as a sports hero. In the London Olympics, he won the nation’s hearts by netting a last minute Bronze medal in the 10m platform event.
The pride in Tom was reflected in our recent Pride Awards. We asked you to vote for your Sports Hero of the Year, and Tom Daley won by a landslide against some fairly well known opponents.
His undoubtedly trim and handsome appearance definitely gave the young athlete a hand, and probably caused some broken hearts when he came out as gay back in 2013. This coupled with his huge success from such a young age have made him an idol for many British people, and of course have made him a gay icon among those of us interested in sports.
While I would love to be able to say that we shouldn’t have to announce our sexuality when it’s not “straight”, this is still a world that is changing and evolving. We have made huge steps in LGBT acceptance in the last couple of years, but we still have a lot of work to be done. Until that work is complete, it’s critical that people like Tom come out (if they want to, of course) so that young LGBT people know they’re not alone.
As he himself says in this video, Tom has always been known for his honesty, and his bravery in coming out knowing that it could have a negative impact on his career is definitely something to be commended.
Many fans of the Olympics, fans of Tom or not, are looking to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He discussed his hopes for this year’s Olympics recently, saying: “I’m 21 and this is my 22nd year on the planet. That is kind of surreal, but also it’s a very important year for me considering it is the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.”
“That kind of scares me a little bit, because not only will it be my third Olympics but it is, in theory, my peak Olympics. I am excited, scared, anxious, worried, but then also really excited again. All these emotions go through my head because it’s one of the biggest moments of my life.When it gets to the Olympic Games, you get one shot every four years. We have six dives, and we get a chance to do one of each of those dives, and if you mess one up, you’re out. That’s it, you’re done and you have to wait another four years.”
“So the pressure that you feel, and the expectation on your shoulders from the people wanting you to win medals and expecting you to win easily, it’s tough to have that all in your head. But, to be honest, it’s the thing that I love the most about it. The pressure, the excitement, the exhilaration, the fact that you only get one shot. It’s whoever is best on that one day, in that one city, in that one pool.”
“Whoever is the best will come away with an Olympic gold medal, and at the end of the day that’s my ultimate dream. It’s a lot to think about, but what’s worth going for in this life that doesn’t seem impossible?”
>Keep your eyes peeled every day this week for more Tom Daley goodness!