Tom Daley just gave himself the best reason to knit another jumper.
Thanks to a performance that earned him and new synchro partner Noah Williams a silver at the World Aquatics Championships, the 2020 Olympic gold medalist secured Great Britain a quota spot in the Men’s 10-meter Synchronized Diving event at the 2024 Games.
While Britain has not officially named the divers who will fill that spot, it’s logical to assume that they’d want to select the athlete who won the whole thing the last time around.
Daley famously celebrated that gold medal performance in 2021 by knitting himself a custom Team GB Olympic cardigan emblazoned with “Tokyo” in Japanese. This time he’ll have to learn how to embroider in French.
The World Championships represented Daley’s first international competition since announcing his comeback last July. What’s more, his 2020 Olympic partner Matty Lee had to miss the competition due to an injured back.
When he got out of bed to prepare himself to climb the platform again, there was only one thing on his mind: dread.
“I was terrified when I woke up this morning, terrified eating breakfast, and at lunch!” he told the media.
Fortunately, Daley was there to dive, not to eat.
“But once I got into the competition, and being with Noah, I kind of relaxed and was like, ‘Ah, this is what it feels like,’” he said.
Daley and Williams meshed fabulously, finishing with a total score of 422.37 for second place. China’s Lian Junjie and Hao Yang took home the gold medal with a score of 470.76, giving the British pair something to work toward in Paris.
“Today was what it all came down to, whether I was going to be able to be fit enough to dive with Noah in the first place, and then be able to actually come in the top qualifying spots,” Daley said, “That’s mission accomplished so far, and now it’s about staying fit and healthy to get to the start line, so now the real work starts.”
The World Championships triumph took place in Doha, Qatar — a nation known for its repressive anti-gay laws and culture, as anyone who watched the 2022 World Cup vividly recalls.
As a statement of LGBTQ Pride, Daley prepared for the competition by getting nail art featuring rainbow hearts on the index fingernails of both hands. In doing so, he was able to show more LGBTQ support while competing than every World Cup soccer player combined.
“Of course [Qatar] can be quite an intimidating place for someone like me — a homosexual— to go and compete,” he said on a recent Youtube video, “But I also think it’s important to be able to go there, compete, and be visible and to be someone that, you know, you never know who’s going to be watching those competitions and who might be struggling and feeling alone.”
Fortunately, FIFA wasn’t there to issue him a yellow card for doing the right thing.
As a tribute to his growing family, Daley also dove with an “R” and a “P” painted on his ring fingernails for sons Robbie and Phoenix.
When he originally announced that he was returning to the sport he loves, Daley mentioned that Robbie told him, “Papa, I want to see you dive at the Olympics.”
Now he’s going to make his son’s wish come true.
As legendary as Daley’s performance in Tokyo was and as emotionally rewarding it felt to see him embrace Lee in ecstasy upon winning gold, now we’ll likely get the privilege of watching him go for another championship with husband Dustin Lance Black, Nana Debs, and his two sons losing their minds cheering him on in person.
That’s why Daley came back in the first place. And regardless of how things go in Paris, it also means his comeback is already a smashing success.
Now let’s hope it gives Daley a reason to knit another gold medal pouch.