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Olympic diver Tom Daley: I won’t be teaching my son to dive

Emma Powys Maurice August 6, 2019
Tom Daley

Tom Daley and husband Lance Black celebrating Christmas with their baby son (@tomdaley/Instagram)

The British Olympic diver Tom Daley has revealed he will not be teaching his son to dive, saying that the main thing he wants is for him “to be happy.”

The gay Olympic medallist is married to the Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. The couple had their son Robbie, now a year old, through a surrogate.

Daley has been diving competitively since the age of 12 and won the 2009 FINA World Championship when he was just 15. But he told PinkNews that he won’t be pressuring his son to do the same.

“The main thing I want for him is to be happy, more than anything,” he said. “I will not be telling him how to dive. I’ll be taking a backseat if that happens.

“I’ll support him whatever he wants to try, whether it’s art or music or sport. If he does want to do diving that would be great, but I’ll definitely take a step back.”

 

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Papa can’t wait to take Robbie swimming again!! ❤️

A post shared by Tom Daley (@tomdaley) on

He highlighted the risk of parents becoming too involved in their child’s training, particularly if they previously competed in the sport.

“Sometimes you have parents who do a sport and their kids do it too, and I think it’s important that you respect the coach’s decision,” he said.

“Of course I’d help [Robbie] and give advice if he asks for it, but I won’t ever push that on him.”

Juggling parenting and training

The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will be the fourth Olympics that Daley has competed in — but the big difference now is he has a new priority in his life.

“Now being a parent, it changes so much. It’s changed my perspective on diving, life, everything,” he said.

“My son is the most important thing in my entire world, so he becomes number one instead of diving, as it has been in the past.”

Caring for a one-year-old while training for the Olympics would be a lot for anyone to handle, but fortunately he and his husband make a great team.

Robert Ray Black-Daley was born in June 2018 (@dlanceblack/Instagram)

“The main difference now is I have to make it home bang on time,” Daley explained.

“Lance looks after Robbie during the day but he needs to start work when LA wakes up, so no matter what happens I need to make sure I’m home by five to look after Robbie for the whole evening into the night. We make it work.”

Daley’s whole family will be in Tokyo to support him, including little Robbie, who will be two. “It will be a completely different experience to dive in front of my son,” he said. 

“But the nice thing about being a parent is whether you do well or badly, your kid doesn’t care, they’re just happy to see you and give you a cuddle at the end of the day.”

Haven partnership

Along with the rest of Team GB, Daley has partnered with Haven holiday parks to encourage more families to take part in active holidays.

Speaking as a new father, he said: “We see kids spending so much time indoors and behind screens, and Haven’s message is about getting children to try new things, walking on the beach, feeling the fresh air, getting active.

“There are so many new things that kids can get involved in and it’s crucial to try something that might spark an interest in a new sport.”

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