deep dive

Tom Daley has been making a splash by doing things his own way

Tom Daley at the Brit Awards in London, 2022
Tom Daley at the Brit Awards in London, 2022 (Photo: Shutterstock)

It’s hard to believe British Olympic diver, Tom Daley, only just turned 28. He’s been dominating headlines since 2008 when, at just 14, he made his Olympic debut in Beijing.

Daley won bronze at the London Olympics in 2012 and the Rio Olympics in 2016. At the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2021, he defied expectations to win gold in the men’s synchronized 10m platform, alongside diving partner Matty Lee.


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Or course, away from the pool, Daley has hit the news for many other reasons.

In March 2013, he met his future husband, Dustin Lance Black, at a dinner event in Los Angeles. Daley was 18 and Black 38. They hit it off immediately and their romance progressed—initially secretly—at a rapid pace.

Recently, the diver posted a video with the inside story of their meeting. Daley revealed he had no idea who the Oscar-winning screenwriter was and had to discreetly Google him on his phone beneath the table.

Related: Bullies once threatened to break Tom Daley’s legs. Now he’s showing the world what he’s made of.

In December 2013, Daley came out by posting a video on his YouTube channel to tell the world he was in a relationship with another man. Four years later, in 2018, he and Black married. And one year after that, in 2018, they welcomed their son, Robbie, born via a surrogate.

Daley has handled being in the public eye from a young age, coming out as gay, and staying at the top of his chosen sporting field, with grace and aplomb. But it hasn’t always been easy.

One of his biggest early supporters was his dad, Robert, who died of a brain tumor in 2011. It was a devastating blow for the young athlete.

Since coming out, he has also not shied away from talking about his sexuality. He’s very aware that many countries in the world have harsh, anti-LGBTQ legislation and he’s used his platform to speak out about it.

In 2018, after winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, he called on Commonwealth countries to drop their anti-LGBTQ laws.

After winning gold in Tokyo last year, he used the opportunity to dedicate his win to LGBTQ youth everywhere.

“I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion,” he said. “I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone. That you can achieve anything and that there is a whole lot of your chosen family out here, ready to support you.”

Last October, he said he was embarking on a “mission” to see countries with the death penalty for homosexuality barred from hosting the Olympics.

“I think it’s really important to try and create change, rather than just highlighting or shining a light on those things,” Daley said while accepting the Sport Award at the 2021 Attitude Awards.

Related: Tom Daley shares stunning underwater images

A big supporter of charity, earlier this year Daley embarked on an epic endurance challenge.

Over the course of four days he rowed, cycled, swam and ran his way from London to his hometown of Plymouth (a distance of 240 miles). In doing so, he helped raise millions for the UK’s Red Nose Day fundraiser, which aims to tackle poverty, violence and discrimination and support children around the globe.

Daley has also talked about dealing with anxiety as a sportsperson, and how he turned to knitting to help calm his mind during times of stress. He has since established an online following with his knitting designs – not to mention his increasingly adventurous fashion choices. Most recently, he capped off an amazing year by publishing a bestselling memoir, Coming Up For Air.

Daley’s already squeezed a lifetime of achievements into his 28 years. We can’t wait to see what he chooses to do next.

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