As if finally winning gold at his fourth Olympics wasn’t enough, British diver Tom Daley has fueled a huge resurgence in knitting, with his latest creations going to a good cause.
Daley has been spotted with crochet needles throughout the Tokyo Games, both poolside and in the stands watching other events. He even knitted a tiny sleeve for his gold medal, earned with partner Matty Lee in the men’s 10-meter synchronized dive.
“One thing that has kept me sane throughout this whole process is my love for knitting and crochet and all things stitching,” he said in an Instagram video showing off the crafty cozy.
The out Olympian is also using his knitting skills to raise awareness — and much needed funds — for the U.K.-based Brain Tumour Charity in memory of his father, Robert, who died of brain cancer in 2011, a year before Daley's Olympic debut at the London Games.
On Thursday, Daley posted an “Olympic cardigan reveal” video on Instagram, declaring “I’ve finished the jumper!” He then proceeds to model the white sweater, which has “Tokyo” written in Japanese kanji on the front, “Team GB” and the Olympic rings on the back and a U.K. flag and “GBR” on the left and right shoulders.
“When I got to Tokyo, I wanted to make something that would remind me of the Olympics to look back on in the future,” Daley, 27, shared on Instagram. “I designed a pattern for the colour work that would signify everything about these games.”
His father had been Daley’s inspiration and biggest fan, often joining him at practices, competitions and news conferences. After his gold-medal win, Daley said he knows his dad “would have been extremely proud of how I have become Olympic champion,” Agence France-Presse reported. “It was always our dream growing up.”
Daley is raffling off Tokyo Games-inspired sweaters to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity, with each entry costing 2 English pounds (about $2.80). He began donating pieces to the charity in September 2020, Pink News reported, and, while showing off another raffle sweater, he teased: “I will be raffling off lots of things over the coming months so keep your eyes peeled.”
While many took to stitching during pandemic lockdowns, Daley said he learned to knit and crochet before the Olympic Games to help him stay calm. He’s already been dubbed “the world’s biggest crochet influencer” by The Guardian.
Daley shares much of his handwork on a separate Instagram account, @madewithlovebytomdaley, which shared its first post in September and already has 1 million followers (his personal account has 3 million). His knitting and crocheting account includes images of jumpers, vests, halter dresses, doggie sweaters and baby booties, made for friends, his husband, Dustin Lance Black, and the couple’s 3-year-old son, Robbie.
In April, he posted a picture of a “cat couch” he knitted for his mother’s birthday, writing “maybe I have taken it too far?”