When Outsports named Tom Daley one of our Male Athletes of the Year for 2021, we assumed that it would be a little while before he achieved something in 2022 to compare with the best year of his professional life.
Turns out it took all of one day.
Upon ringing in the new year, the news hit that Daley had been named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), the second-highest ranking award in the United Kingdom’s order of chivalry. Fellow diving gold medalist Matty Lee was named an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).
It looks like Daley’s first knitting project for 2022 will be another medal case. But more than that, as he told BBC Breakfast, he’s going to use this honor as another opportunity to speak out for his community:
“I feel it’s almost like a responsibility to make the whole Commonwealth a better place for LGBT people, for women, for people of color, to make it a more inclusive and more accepting environment.
“It is now my responsibility to try and help create change and help create this environment where everybody can be anything they want, no matter where they came from.”
This response is perfectly in character with Daley’s commitment to public activism exemplified by his call for banning countries with death penalties for LGBTQ people from the Olympics at last October’s Attitude Awards.
Which is why another major award for Daley is especially good news. Rather than basking in the afterglow of his gold medal and rehashing his Olympic story over and over again, Daley is viewing every new opportunity in the spotlight as a chance to uplift the LGBTQ causes that matter most to him.
While he has been vocal during the Olympics, at awards shows, and on his YouTube channel, this is an opportunity for Daley to speak out for the LGBTQ community while receiving an honor from the Queen. It’s one of. the highest profile platforms he’s had to date in Britain and he’s chosen to take full advantage of it.
So after one day of the calendar year, there’s already a new entry for Daley’s Best of 2022 reel. And considering his commitment to public activism, there should be plenty others on the way soon.