Bullying at school, father’s death, homosexuality, unable to walk. Thomas Daley won a show jumping into the water, in Tokyo, alongside fellow Brit Matty Lee.
Surprise in the jumps into the water, in the Tokyo Olympic Games: in the synchronized 10 meter platform event, the winning pair was not Chinese, but British. Yuan Cao and Aisen Chen led before the last round but Thomas Daley e Matty Lee got the gold medal. The difference between the British and the Chinese was just one point and two tenths. The Russian duo – Aleksandr Bondar and Viktor Minibaev – took third place.
Matty Lee made his debut in the Olympic Games but Daley, with three world titles and five Europeans, had taken the bronze medal in the two previous editions of the event: London e Rio de Janeiro. To the 27 years climbs to the highest place on the podium, after many complicated moments.
At the age of seven, the Englishman began to practice jumping into the water at a club in his native Plymouth. European champion at 13 years old (the youngest ever). At 14, he was already at the Olympic Games: in Beijing 2008 he was the youngest British athlete and the youngest from any country to reach a final. At 15, the world champion youngest to represent Great Britain. By the middle, bullying in school.
Daley himself said that, a few weeks after being in the final of the Beijing Olympic Games, 13 years ago, he was back to being mocked and assaulted at your school. Twitter would also become the scene of insults and threats.
And the humiliation was visible in the Olympic context itself: still in Beijing, in 2008, his teammate Blake Aldridge told him he didn’t get a medal in the Chinese capital because of Daley’s performance.
The 2012 Olympics came at home in London. Bronze medal, national ovation, lots of interviews and later an invitation to join a television program. Coaches began to say that the young athlete was too distracted and was wasting his talent.
At the end of 2013, the video that made news almost all over the world:
Tom Daley had something to say: “I believe in honesty. I never felt comfortable talking about relationships, not least because I never had a serious relationship to talk about. Last spring I met someone, I fell in love with him. It’s a man. I was surprised but he makes me feel good and my whole world has changed. I could not be happier”.
“Now people will send in their opinions but this isn’t anything special. I’m still Tom, I still want to win a medal at the Olympic Games for Great Britain”, said Daley, at the time with 19 years old.
In the same video, Daley recalled the “roller coaster” that had been his life in previous years: his father died due to cancer in 2011, the medal in London 2012 and recalled the bullying in school.
Thomas Daley arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 thinking he would win the gold medal at the Olympic Games. He got the bronze again.
However, outside of sports, she married a man from the movies, Dustin Lance Black (20 years older), and already has children.
2021 was the year of the Olympic gold. But 2021 was also the year of a knee operation: at the beginning of last month, June, Daley couldn’t even walk. He was Olympic champion this Monday, despite the fact that he himself thought he would never get this title: “It’s unbelievable. I dreamed of this moment since I started in this modality, 20 years ago”, said the champion, in tears.
Interestingly, your coach Jane Figueiredo (whose father is Portuguese) forbade the British duo from talking about a gold medal: “We learned a lot in Rio de Janeiro. A lot going on, a lot of phones, a lot of journalists, a lot of talk around the gold medal. This time I told Daley: I don’t want to hear those words.”