British two-time world champion platform diver Tom Daley is grinding toward what he hopes will yield his first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo next year. But, the quest to be a winning diver takes second place to being a winning dad.
In June 2018, Daley and his spouse, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black welcomed their young son Robbie, who was born via surrogate. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Daley said becoming a father has “altered my mindset” and took away some of the pressure to redeem himself after a tough outing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Daley was one of the favorites in the individual 10-meter platform event but faltered in the semifinals and was eliminated from medal contention.
“For the first time ever, I’m able to leave diving at the pool and not think about it when I get home,” he told the Telegraph. “It’s very grounding, and has brought me more into the moment. Diving was number one for so long, and now Robbie is definitely number one.”
He also noted that getting closer to his husband and their son slowed him down to strengthen his resiliency and refuel his resolve to push toward new goals in competition.
“In 2018, I got sick and got stress fractures in my shins. I was trying to push through it,” Daley said. “I’d been pushing and pushing, but decided to take a break before the end of the season. It was six weeks before Robbie was born, and I think it was the best thing I could ever have done. It reoriented the way I felt about the world. Then, when I came back to training, I felt like a different athlete – ready to get back at it again.”