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Britain's Tom Daley tells LGBTQ youth 'you are not alone' after taking gold at Tokyo Olympics

"When I was younger, I thought I was never going to be anything, or achieve anything, because of who I was," the diver said after taking the gold in his fourth Olympics.
Image: Thomas Daley and Matty Lee
Thomas Daley and Matty Lee of Britain pose for a photo after winning gold medals during the men's synchronized 10m platform diving final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre at the 2020 Summer Olympics, on July 26, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.Dmitri Lovetsky / AP

The British diver Tom Daley said Monday he hoped his gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics would be a shining example for the LGBTQ community that "you can achieve anything."

Daley and his diving partner, Matty Lee, swept to victory in the men's synchronized 10-meter platform event, with the British diver crying tears of joy at the podium. This is Daly's fourth Olympics and the first time he has taken a gold medal.

"I feel 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 to be an Olympic champion now just shows that you can achieve anything."

Daley, 27, said he was glad to see a record-breaking number of openly out LGBTQ athletes participating in the Olympic Games this year.

However, he said that when he first came out in December 2013, he had "always felt like the one that was alone and different and didn't fit in."

"There was something about me that was always never going to be as good as what society wanted me to be," he said.

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Now, 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."

Daley made the comments as he stood between athletes representing China and Russia — two countries where same-sex marriage is not legal.

It is unclear whether his comments were broadcast in both those nations. However, media from both China and Russia have been present at the Games.

More than 160 members of the LGBTQ community were expected to participate in the Summer Games, according to the sports news website Outsports.

The number is nearly triple the 56 who participated in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with about 34 athletes coming from the United States to the Tokyo Games.

Daley and Lee's victory on Monday saw the duo finish with a total 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 claimed by Russia's Aleksandr Bondar and Viktor Minibaev with 439.92 points.