On July 26, Team GB’s Tom Daley earned his first Olympic Gold Medal alongside diving partner Matty Lee, as they competed in the men’s synchronised 10m platform event. The pair ended a 21 year-long winning streak held by China, earning a total of 471.81 points over four dives.
In the wake of his momentous win, Tom Daley gave a moving speech that has been praised for inspiring and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community. The diver, who came out in 2013 following his Bronze Medal win at the London Games, stated, “I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion.”
— Team GB (@TeamGB) July 26, 2021
Having made his Olympic debut at the 2008 event aged just 14, he added, “I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone.”
“When I was younger I didn’t think I’d ever achieve anything because of who I was.”
“You can achieve anything and there is a whole lot of your chosen family out here, ready to support you.”
“I feel incredibly proud to say I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion.”
Gold medal winner Tom Daley says he hopes his performance will inspire young LGBT people to realise “you can achieve anything”.
— LBC (@LBC) July 26, 2021
Gold medalist Tom Daley made the statement while joined by both Chinese and Russian divers who finished with silver and bronze respectively. Media outlets in both of his competitors’ nations were also covering the speech, broadcasting his words to a public who do not have the right to same-sex marriage.
Daley previously stated that in 2014 he skipped competing at an event in Russia due to feeling unsafe because of their anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and attitudes. His husband, Dustin Lance Black, is reportedly blacklisted from the country after carrying a massive rainbow flag at a protest there, and receiving threats following the release of his film Milk.
There are a record number of out LGBTQ+ athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, with over 150 queer competitors reportedly in attendance. Amandine Buchard, who was one of six French athletes to publicly come out for this year’s Pride Month, picked up a silver medal in the Judo Half Lightweight event.
All of these athletes are paving the way for queer youth, displaying that there is always a place for them, no matter what it is they want to achieve.
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