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Tom Daley shares empowering message for LGBT+ youth as he returns home to hero’s welcome

Michele Theil August 9, 2021
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Tom Daley posing with his gold medal

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Fresh off his gold medal win, Team GB diver Tom Daley has shared an empowering message to young LGBT+ people after returning from the Tokyo Olympics.

Daley was greeted by fans cheering and waving Union Jack flags when he arrived back from the Olympics at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday (August 8).

He waved enthusiastically and showed off his medals to his supporters as he walked out into the arrivals hall. Later, Daley shared images of a celebratory brunch on his Instagram stories.

As he marked the end of his fourth Olympics, one that saw him regularly use his platform to rally for LGBT+ rights, Daley also shared a message for queer youth.

Posting on Instagram Sunday, he wrote: “To the young LGBTQ community, you are not alone. You can achieve anything.”

Tom Daley ‘proud to be a gay Olympic champion’

The Tokyo Olympics saw Tom Daley make history, becoming the first British diver to achieve four Olympic medals. He took a gold and a bronze in the 2020 games.

Many of his fans have been following his journey both in and out of the pool, and were particularly heart-warmed by Daley’s knitting, which he has used to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity.

Daley has used every opportunity of his Olympics journey to inspire and support the LGBT+ community.

After a stunning performance in the synchronised 10m platform dive with his partner Matty Lee, Daley said: “I feel incredible proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion.”

“When I was younger I didn’t think I’d ever achieve anything because of who I was. To be an Olympic champion now just shows that you can achieve anything.”

He continued: “In terms of out athletes, there are more openly out athletes at these Olympic games than any Olympic games previously. I came out in 2013 and when I was younger I always felt like the one that was alone and different and didn’t fit.”

Tom Daley Matthew Lee pose with their gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games
Tom Daley and Matthew Lee of Team Great Britain pose with their gold medals after winning the men’s synchronised 10m platform final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.(Getty/Fred Lee)

Tom Daley was one of at least 182 out LGBT+ athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, more than three times the number that were at the 2016 Rio Games.

In recent days, the diver has spoken out against Russia state TV after it targeted him and transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard in their commentary. A panellist on Rossiya 1, who is also a member of the Russian parliament, said he was “disgusted” by gay and trans people.

The panellist also said that “we” strongly oppose “all this smut and perversion” and described LGBT+ people as an “abomination”.

In response, Daley emphasised the importance of being an out LGBT athlete, and that he feels “extremely lucky” to be repenting Great Britain and not a country where LGBT+ people face criminalisation and death.

“I just hope that seeing out sportspeople in all these different sports is going to help people feel less alone, feel like they are values and can achieve something.”

Daley came out in 2013 in a candid YouTube video and has since married Oscar-award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, with whom he shares a son.

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