Watch: I am proud to be a gay man and an Olympic champion, says Tom Daley
Tom Daley has said he hopes his sensational Olympic gold medal will inspire the LGBT community.
The 27-year-old diver won the 10-metre synchronised platform event on Monday with his partner Matty Lee.
They took the Olympic title 1.23 points ahead of China, with the Russian Olympic Committee third.
It was Daley's fourth attempt to go for gold at the Olympics since his debut aged 14 in Beijing in 2008.
Daley is married to American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, with whom he shares son Robbie.
“I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone. You can achieve anything,” said Daley.
“In terms of out athletes, there are more openly out athletes at these Olympic Games than any Olympic Games previously.
“I came out in 2013 and when I was younger I always felt like the one that was alone and different and didn’t fit. There was something about me that was never going to be as good as what society wanted me to be.
“There is a whole lot of your chosen family out here ready to support you. I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion."
It was an emotional victory for Daley, whose gold adds to his two Olympic bronze medals from 2012 and 2016.
“I mean, to finally have this gold medal around my neck after so many – I mean, I’ve been diving now for 20 years and this is my fourth Olympic Games, and lots of people probably would have counted me out of this Olympics, being the older person, but I’m in the best shape physically and mentally,” he said.
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“With the support of Matty coming into this competition and the way that we’ve been preparing, I think we’ve just had that unstoppable mentality this year and this is the first year that I’ve ever been able to think like that – that we are the ones to beat.
“I still honestly can’t believe what’s happening and I honestly didn’t think I would get there in the first place, but here we are.”
He went on to describe the moment before they were announced as Olympic champions, saying: “To hear the national anthem play – I was gone. I couldn’t even sing. I was halfway singing and I was blubbering. I just can’t believe it."
First-time Olympian Lee added: “It was crazy. I don’t understand what just happened. To be able to share my first Olympics with Tom and be part of this gold medal, it’s so special and I can’t believe it.”
During the competition, BBC commentator Leon Taylor, who is Daley’s mentor, became tearful as the pair won the event.
Taylor, who won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics, was commentating on the coverage.
After Daley won on his fourth attempt, Taylor said: “It feels like all the stuff that he must have been through, all the pain and the heartache, he must feel it must all have been worth it and to get it on his fourth try – I can only imagine the emotions he’s feeling.”
He added: “You’re buzzing for him,” before saying the win is “great for Matty as well”.
It comes just hours after Adam Peaty won gold in Tokyo, becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title.
Alex Yee also earned a silver medal in the triathlon.
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