Olympic diver Tom Daley, who was named Attitude magazine’s “sexiest man in the world,” has said he is not gay, although he would not be ashamed if he were.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, the 19-year-old athlete said: “I think it’s funny when people say I’m gay… I laugh it off.

“I’m not. But even if I was, I wouldn’t be ashamed. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest what people thought.

“But I can understand why I have a massive gay following – I spend most of my life half naked in trunks on a diving board showing off my bare chest.

“I often joke I wear more to bed than I do to work. But I’m cool with my gay following. It’s great to have gay fans even though my friends gently take the mick.”

Tom added that he preferred to concentrate on his professional diving image, over his perceived sexuality.

“I just think about my diving,” he said. “If people think I am gay or that I don’t focus on my diving enough and go out too much, there is always going to be an opinion – and if I worry about that too much, then my diving goes downhill.”

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He also revealed he would love to have a girlfriend, but is currently single.

He said: “I was seeing a synchronised swimmer before the Olympics but she lived in Bristol and I wasn’t driving so we couldn’t meet up.

“I have a soft spot for American diver Kassidy Cook but she lives in Texas – the long distance would be hard.

“I wish I had time to meet a girl. I thought after the Olympics I would have loads more time but that hasn’t been the case.”

He added: “I have to meet someone I can trust. I have never had a serious relationship. It has never worked with diving.

“It’s a priority to me and if someone doesn’t understand that’s fine. But then they’re not the person for me.”

Last month, Tom told Digital Spy that being named this year’s ‘Sexiest Man’ by Attitude was “surreal”, but “very cool”.

Football star David Beckham was in second place and Superman actor Henry Cavill was in third place.

Asked how he feels about his gay following, Daley said: “Everyone’s been so supportive. [Attitude’s voters] are the people cheering me on during the Olympics, these are the people that give me extra motivation during training. I really appreciate it.”

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