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British diver Tom Daley after winning first gold medal: 'I feel incredibly proud that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion'

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British diver Tom Daley won the first gold medal of his Olympic diving career on Monday.

Daley and partner Matty Lee won gold in the men's synchronized 10-meter platform event to beat the Chinese team of Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by 1.23 points. 

Daley, 27, revealed publicly in 2013 that he was gay after winning a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. On Monday after he and Lee won gold, Daley said that he would feel alone and different when he was diving as a kid — and that their win in the 10-meter platform showed that LGBTQ kids could achieve anything. 

"I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now you are not alone and that you can achieve anything and there is a whole lot of your chosen family out here ready to support you," Daley said in his news conference. "And I think it’s one of those things that I feel incredibly proud that 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. And to be an Olympic champion now shows that you can achieve anything."

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics features over 50 athletes who have said they are LGBTQ. 

"There are more openly out LGBT athletes at this Olympic games than any other Olympic games previously," Daley said.

Daley said that he would lay in bed as a child and dream of one day winning a gold medal at the Olympics. He said the final dive he and Lee made — a 4.5-somersault with a pike — was executed just as he had visualized it for decades.

"To see us become Olympic champions, I still cannot actually believe that it's just happened. It's been a dream of mine for so many years and I am extremely thankful to everyone who has made it possible," Daley said.

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 26: Tom Daley and Matty Lee of Great Britain with their gold medal after victory in the Synchronised 10m Platform Diving for Men  at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Tom Daley (L) and Matty Lee won gold in the men's 10-meter platform synchronized diving event. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Daley suffered knee injury before Olympics

Daley also revealed after winning gold that he had knee surgery earlier in the summer. Daley tore a meniscus in June and had surgery to repair it. He chose having the surgery despite the tight recovery timetable for the Olympics and it was clearly a decision that paid off. 

Daley's gold medal now joins a household that also includes an Oscar. Daley's husband Dustin Lance Black won an Academy Award for best original screenplay in 2008 for the film Milk about San Francisco politician Harvey Milk. Daley said that the Oscar currently sits in the couple's downstairs bathroom. 

“My husband’s Oscar goes in the downstairs loo," Daley said via Reuters. "People often mistake it for a loobrush. We had to get an Oscar loobrush because people were picking it up and realising it was an actual Oscar, not just a toy.

“I don’t know why he does that, he says he doesn’t want to give it any more power than it needs. He’s done it and moving on to the next thing.”

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