Tom Daley: Olympic Champion, Activist & Master Knitter

Tom Daley is a British diver, television personality, and YouTuber. He continues his activism by hitting back at Russian Media insults. 

Credit: Plymouth Live

Olympic champion Tom Daley has been in the public eye from a very young age due to his hard work and dedication to his sport. Coming out just after the London Olympic Games, Tom has used his fame to positively influence the LGBTQ+ community and fight for equal rights among the Commonwealth countries. He consistently inspires and encourages young people and is an amazing role model in the sporting world. Most recently has achieved the Olympic dream of winning gold in Tokyo as well as being the first British Diver to have won 4 Olympic medals.

Early Life

Daley began his journey to Olympic champion from the young age of eight where he immediately fell in love with diving. Tom went on to win the 1m springboard, 3m springboard and platform events within his age group. And caught national attention after winning every single diving discipline within his age group at the British Championships. National coaches witnessed Daley’s talent and potential and he immediately began his training for the national team. 

The future Olympic champion applied as much hard work and dedication to his education as he did diving. And took his GCSEs (British Secondary School Certificate Equivalent) clusters to fit them around his diving commitments. As part of his GCSE Photography project to recreate original portraits by David Hockey, Tom enlisted the help of supermodel Kate Moss, who he had met before on a photo shoot in London for Vogue Italia

An Daily Mail UK articles reported,

 ‘I asked Kate if she would be kind enough to model for a particular shot I wanted, one inspired by an original portrait by David Hockney,’ said Daley.

‘I told her it was for part of my course and she agreed.’

Olympic Journey 

He specializes in multiple events and was just 14 years old when he competed in his first Olympics in Beijing. Making him the youngest British Olympian since rowing coxswain Ken Lester. He was ranked No.63 in Time’s 2008 edition of 100 Olympic Athletes To Watch. Daley has competed in every Summer Olympics since for which he has earned a total of four Olympic medals.

Daley’s first Bronze medal was won in the 2012 London Olympic games. He then earned his second Bronze in Rio alongside Daniel Goodfellow in the men’s synchronised 10m platform. In the last two weeks in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Tom won Gold for the synchronised 10m platform with teammate Matty Lee. And finally received his most recent Bronze medal making him the first British Diver to have obtained 4 Olympic medals. 

LGBTQ+ Activism 

Credit: The Straits Times

As well as being an Olympic Champion Tom is also a dedicated activist for LGBTQ rights and strives to make a difference in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth. After announcing that he was in a relationship with Dustin Lance Black on his YouTube channel in 2013, he described himself as queer and became a patron of the LGBTQ+ charity Switchboard which provides a helpline and support for the queer community. 

Tom’s activism continued into his second Olympics in Rio, where he won bronze once again. He used his fame to elevate the conversation for LGBTQ+ rights. The diver appealed to nations during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2018 asking nations that still had anti-LGBTQ laws to abolish them. His influence placed a lot of pressure on the heads of government of the nations of the UK. 

An article in Time Magazine highlights this speech by Daley: 

“I’m incredibly proud to say I am gay and an Olympic champion”

“I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone,” said Daley, 27. “You can achieve anything and there is a whole lot of your chosen family out here, ready to support you.”

Tom delivered this speech flanked by his fellow Chinese and Russian divers, who respectively placed second and third. This resulted in his speech being broadcasted in China and Russia both countries where same-sex marriage is illegal. Tom has previously commented that he has in the past steered clear from competing in Russia following coming out. Due to feeling unsafe as the result of the prevalence of homophobia and anti LGBTQ+ legislation in the country. 

Hitting Back at Russian Media’s Insults


Though the Tokyo games had triple the amount of LGBTQ+ athletes than the 2016 Rio Olympics, there has still been major homophobic backlash targeting particular athletes. Russia’s Channel Rossiya 1 broadcasted various offensive slurs and comments during their coverage of the Tokyo Olympics. The Russian media outlet targeted Tom Daley and transgender New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard. 

According to an article in The Sun, TV host Anatoly Kuzichev wore a wig in order to mock Laurel. And called transgender people “psychopaths”, stating they need to seek psychiatric treatment. The channel also aired a number of talk shows that used very offensive language towards the LGBTQ+ community utilizing words such as “abomination” and perversion”. The International Olympic Committee is investigating these homophobic and transphobic comments made. reported Daley’s inspiring response:

“History shows that everything that society is has been dictated from the straight, white, male experience.”

“If we could come together and use different points of view, the world would be a better place.”

“There are 10 countries competing at these Olympics where being LGBT is punishable by death.”

“I feel extremely lucky to be representing Team GB, to be able to stand on the diving board as myself, with a husband and a son, and not have to worry about any ramifications.”

“There are lots of people who grow up around the world in less fortunate situations.”

“I just hope that seeing ‘out’ sportspeople will help people to feel like they are less alone, like they are valued, like they can achieve something.”

“It takes a lot to come out and speak openly. It can be quite daunting and scary for people, especially in sports where the fanbases might not be as accepting.”

“I didn’t realise the impact it would have on people around the world to live as myself. I feel extremely proud of that.”

Family Life

Credit: Gay Star News

Tom married Dustin Lance Black, an American Oscar-winning film screenwriter, director, and producer in 2017. Lance won his Academy Award for his original screenplay for Milk, a biopic depicting the life of politician and gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Other notable works of Black’s include his screenplay J. Edgar starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Lance has been open about his upbringing in a Mormon and military community in Texas, which had a great effect on his journey as a gay man. Since coming out, he has advocated for LGBTQ+ rights alongside his career in film. And he is a founding member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. 

In 2018, Lance and Tom announced their news about becoming parents through surrogacy. The couple faced a lot of homophobic criticism for choosing surrogacy. Black and Daley went on to further discuss the ethical issues surrounding surrogacy through their podcast. 

In Hello Magazine Tom said,

 “It was a shock at the beginning, the negativity. I always desperately wanted children. I’ve been collecting baby clothes for years.”

“I didn’t understand why people would mind so much if Lance and I decided to have a child of our own. We’d probably thought about it more than many couples.”

“Like any other couple we just want to be the best parents.”

In 2018, they welcomed their son Robert “Robbie” Ray Black-Daley into the world via surrogacy. 

YouTube Channel

Winning two Olympic medals in Tokyo was not the only milestone Tom achieved during the past two weeks. The diver also hit the 1 million subscribers mark on his YouTube channel, which he created in 2010 as he recorded preparation for the 2012 Olympics in London. In celebration of the milestone, Tom posted “1 Million Subscribers Special| Channel Rewind”. 

In Instinct MagazineTom explained, 

 “We made it to one million subscribers. I cannot believe it! So thank you to each and every one of you that are subscribed to my channel. It’s been real. It’s been emotional. There’s been a lot of ups and downs throughout my YouTube career that started way back when.” 

Tom’s channel covers various topics including diving vlogs, “Daley Diaries”, fitness tutorials, and nutrition. He often features his husband Lance participating in various challenges and has also collaborated with former Olympian gymnast and fellow YouTuber Nile Wilson. The two Olympians often challenge each other to try each other’s sports resulting in some hilarious content. Daley also discusses various other topics related to health and well being like “Learn How To Fail Ft. Elizabeth Day”. 

Made With Love By Tom Daley

Credit: NPR

During lockdown, Tom fell in love with knitting and not even the Olympic games stopped him from whipping up his marvelous creations. Tom was spotted in the stands knitting while watching the women’s 3 m springboard event. He later revealed on his Instagram account @madewithlovebytomdaley dedicated to his knitted creations, that he was making a sweater for his French bulldog Izzy.

After winning his gold medal Tom knitted a little pouch for it emblazoned with the Union Jack on one side and the Japanese flag on the other.

At the conclusion of the games Daley revealed his latest creation, his Olympic-inspired cardigan. Which continues the Japanese x British theme adorned with Kanji, the Union Jack and Olympic rings. On his Instagram post the diver says:

“When I got to Tokyo, I wanted to make something that would remind me of these games. Something that I could say I had made in Tokyo, during the Olympics!”

Is there anything Tom Daley can’t do?


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