Sport

Tom Daley wears his heart on his sleeve in emotional Sports Personality of the Year speech

Lily Wakefield December 20, 2021
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Tom Daley at the Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Tom Daley at the Sports Personality of the Year awards. (BBC)

Tom Daley gave a moving speech at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards on Sunday (19 December).

Although he narrowly missed out on the award to tennis star Emma Raducanu, Daley – who won an Olympic gold medal this year with diving partner Matty Lee in the men’s synchronized 10m platform diving event º stunned with an emotional speech.

He described his dad, Robert, who died in 2011 from a brain tumour shortly after Daley’s 17th birthday, as his “biggest cheerleader”.

“After all those years, he never got to see me win an Olympic medal,” he said.

He added: “My dad would take me to every training session, every competition with that giant British flag,” Daley continued.

“I’m so sad he didn’t to see me win Olympic gold, I think he would be so proud. I knew that I could win it, but I’d almost settled with the fact that it was never going to be me.”

Tom Daley said making sport ‘accessible and inclusive’ is vital

Although he won gold at the Tokyo Olympics without his dad, Tom Daley said he was grateful to now have his husband and son by his side, and to have won as an openly gay man.

He said: “Going into the [Tokyo 2020] Olympic Games, I think I had a complete different sense of perspective.

“I’m married, I have a kid who’s three-and-a-half, to be able to say that I’m a gay man that was able to compete at an Olympic Games, and feel comfortable in myself to be able to do that.

“There are so many people around the world that aren’t comfortable enough to be able to do that, and there are so many people that are growing up in countries that need our help and need our support to be their true authentic selves.”

He added: “It’s important that we make sport accessible and inclusive for everyone and that everyone has a space.”

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