British diver Tom Daley said he hoped the huge number of LGBTQ athletes at the Tokyo Olympics would help inspire a new generation after he finally won his first Olympic gold medal after four competitions.
Daley and Matty Lee won gold in the men’s synchronized 10m platform competition, edging out China’s Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by just over a point. Daley has competed at every Olympics since 2008 but had previously won just two bronze medals: One in 2012 for the solo 10m platform, and another in 2016 for the synchronized 10m platform.
Per The Guardian, Daley, who came out in 2013, said after his long-awaited gold, “I feel incredibly 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.”
“I feel incredibly proud to say I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion.”
Gold medal winner Tom Daley says he hopes his performance will inspire young LGBT people to realise “you can achieve anything”.
— LBC (@LBC) July 26, 2021
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. There was something about me that was never going to be as good as what society wanted me to be. I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone. You can achieve anything.”
The Tokyo Olympics will feature at least 168 publicly out LGBTQ athletes, according to SB Nation’s Outsports, which is triple the number who participated in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.