British diver Tom Daley said Monday he hopes his gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics will be a shining example to the LGBTQ community that “you can do anything.”
Daley and his diving partner Matty Lee claimed victory in the men’s 10-meter synchronized platform event, with the British diver crying for joy on the podium. This is Daly’s fourth Olympics and his first time ever to win a gold medal.
“I am incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion,” he said. “And I feel very empowered by that because when I was younger I thought I was never going to be anything, or achieve anything, because of who I was, and being an Olympic champion shows. now that you can do it all. “
Daley, 27, said he was happy to see a record number of LGBTQ athletes openly competing in the Olympics this year.
However, he said that when he first came out in December 2013, he “always felt like the one who was alone and different and who did not fit in”.
“There was something about me that was never going to be as good as what society wanted me to be,” he said.
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Now he said, “I hope any young LGBT can see that no matter how lonely you feel right now, you are not alone. That you can achieve anything and that there is anything you can do. has many of your chosen family here, ready to support you. “
Daley made the comments as he stood between athletes representing China and Russia – two countries where same-sex marriage is not legal.
It is not known whether his comments were broadcast in these two countries. However, media from China and Russia were present at the Games.
More than 160 members of the LGBTQ community were scheduled to participate in the Summer Games, according to sports news site Outsports.
The number is almost triple the 56 who competed in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, with around 34 athletes coming from the United States for the Tokyo Games.
Daley and Lee’s victory on Monday saw the duo finish with an aggregate score of 471.81 points, securing a narrow victory over China’s Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by 1.23 points.
The bronze medal was won by Russians Aleksandr Bondar and Viktor Minibaev with 439.92 points.