“Oh, my God!” “Oh, my God!” That was the reaction of British diver Tom Daley when he and Matty Lee won the gold medal Monday in the men’s 10-meter synchronized diving at the Tokyo Olympics.
For Daley, who is openly gay, and Lee, it was a stunning win over the favored Chinese divers Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen and played out in dramatic fashion that saw the Brits win the gold by 1.23 points over the six dives.
It was Daley’s first gold medal (he has two Olympic bronzes) and he and Lee took the lead on their fourth dive and hold off a furious charge by the Chinese. In the sixth dive, a forward with 4 1⁄2 somersaults, Daley and Lee scored 101.52 points. Cao and Chen scored 101.52 on their final dive but they came up just short.
The Chinese were the last team to dive and Daley and Lee could only watch as their scores came in. When it was shown that their score would hold up for the gold, Daley and Lee embraced, yelling and jumping up and down, with Daley saying, “Oh, my God!” “Oh, my God!” It was pure sports drama.
After the competition, Daley had some powerful comments on what it meant to win the gold medal as an openly gay athlete.
“There are more out LGBT athletes at this Olympic Games than any Olympic Games previously, “ Daley said. “I came out in 2013, December 2013 ... when I was younger I was always the one who felt alone, alone and different, there was something about me that was never going to be as good as society wanted to be and I hope that any young LGBT person out there see that no matter how alone you feel right now, that you are not alone and you can achieve anything. There is a whole lot of your chosen family out here ready to support you
“I feel incredibly proud to say I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion. I feel very empowered by that. When I was younger I thought I was never going to be anything or achieve anything because of who I was. To be an Olympic champion now shows that you can achieve anything.”
“I feel incredibly proud to say I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion.”— LBC (@LBC) July 26, 2021
Gold medal winner Tom Daley says he hopes his performance will inspire young LGBT people to realise “you can achieve anything”.
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What made the competition extra special was the commentary by NBC’s Ted Robinson and Cynthia Potter, who openly discussed Daley’s marriage to Dustin Lance Black and them having a son. When the gold medal was secured, Robinson noted that Black was watching the event in Canada.
On an earlier dive by Daley and Lee, Robinson and Potter had this exchange:
Ted Robinson: “Tom Daley has grown up in front of the world and in England has been the subject of intense scrutiny. Since Rio five years ago, he married and he and husband Dustin have an adopted son, Robbie Ray, and Tom Daley has talked about that has changed his outlook and his perspective.”
Cynthia Potter: “Yes and I think that [husband] Dustin Lance Black, who has all of the notoriety of Tom Daley — he is a screenwriter and an award-winning screenwriter — and I had the opportunity to talk to him the other day and he was delightful. He said his job is to make him feel comfortable as possible and when he’s talking about Tom’s diving don’t increase his stress level.”
It was natural banter, the kind we’ve heard from announcers about straight partners forever and I loved it. Then watching Daley and Lee take the gold with clutch dive after clutch dive was the highlight of the Olympics so far.
Getty has some great photos from the win by Daley and Lee: