The world of sport is congratulating Tom Daley for having the courage to speak openly for the first time about being in a same-sex relationship and the Olympic diver says he’s been “overwhelmed” by the public’s reaction.

In a YouTube video on Monday, the 19-year-old Olympic bronze medallist said: “In spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone, and they make me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great.

“That someone is a guy.”

On Monday afternoon, Daley tweeted that he had been “overwhelmed” by the public’s reaction.

British Swimming chief executive David Sparks commended the diver: “Everybody within British Swimming supports Tom and his announcement. It’s a very private matter and doesn’t change the very positive way in which we will continue to work with Tom.

“Tom is one of the world’s leading athletes and has achieved success at every level of competition including Olympic bronze and world gold.

“I hope the media will give Tom the privacy he deserves to allow him to continue to focus on performance as he continues to be an inspiration and role model to millions around the globe.”

Gareth Thomas, who became rugby’s first openly gay professional player to come out and continue playing in 2009, said Daley will realise today is the start of an amazing life.

Former basketball player John Amaechi, who came out as gay three years after retiring as a professional NBA player in 2007, told the Manchester Evening News: “It’s important. What he’s done is clearly connected with a lot of young people who are not always impacted, and he did it in such a way – personal, intimate, handheld with a camera on Youtube – that is acceptable to the masses and was very authentic, which is very important.

“He’s one of those people. He’s an entertainer as well as being a sportsperson as well as being a personality. He’s an important role model for the LGBT community.”

England and Surrey cricketer Steven Davies, who came out as gay in February 2011, tweeted that it was a “big day” for the diver.

Meanwhile, Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker hoped that today’s news might encourage the world of football to take the next leap.