WEEPING tears of joy and hugging dive partner Matty Lee, Tom Daley has finally landed gold at an Olympics.
The 27-year-old starred in the men’s synchronised 10m platform event – beating China’s Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen at Toyko 2020 in an incredible performance.
It caps a wonderful journey for Daley, who incredibly starred in his first Games in Beijing aged just 14.
Daley won bronze at both London and Rio, but has never previously been top of the podium.
Away from the pool, the star who came out in 2013, has become a gay rights hero.
He is married to movie producer Dustin Lance Black, and the pair are parents to a son born via surrogate named Robert.
This is his remarkable story…
Daley has always been a diving prodigy – beginning his training at Plymouth Diving Club, where he excelled and was entered into national competitions at the age of nine.
Astonishingly, he made his Olympic debut at the age of 14 in Beijing 2008.
He made history by becoming Britain’s youngest ever competitor, as well as the youngest from any nation to participate in a final.
In 2009, he rose to No1 in the rankings in the FINA World Aquatics Championships Diving Rankings for the 10m platform.
An Olympic medal was within his grasp.
A TASTE OF SUCCESS
At the London Games in 2012, Daley was one of the poster athletes of Team GB.
A huge 80-foot tall banner wrapped around the John Lewis department store in Cardiff was proof to that.
The pressure on Tom to deliver was immense in the 10m men’s synchronised event with partner Peter Waterfield, as the pair were expected to deliver Team GB’s first medal of the Games.
However, after leading the competition after three dives, a poor reverse 3 1/2 somersaults with tuck in the fourth round put them out of contention and they ended the competition in fourth place on 454.65 points.
Daley returned for the 10m men’s platform event when he won a bronze medal, with cameras and flashbulbs following his every move.
He was inches from gold – leading into the final round. But Daley’s final dive had a degree of difficulty of only 3.3 while his rivals both had 3.6 dives, so he was cruelly robbed. Bronze was scant consolation.
A year on from London 2012, after years of speculation about his sexuality, Daley bravely came out.
The brave sportsman took to his YouTube channel to reveal all to his fans in an emotional video.
“In spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone, and they make me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great,” he said.
“That someone is a guy. It did take me by surprise a little bit. It was always in the back of my head that something like that could happen.
“But it wasn’t until spring this year that something just clicked. It felt right and I thought ‘Okay’. And my whole world changed there and then.
“Of course I still fancy girls but right now I’m dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier.”
Daley began dating movie producer Dustin Lance Black, 20 years his senior, for six months before that revelation.
“It was a real love-at-first-sight thing. But then I had to come back to England so we were just talking on the phone or WhatsApp or whatever,” he told The Guardian.
“Then he came over eight weeks later. The first night, I took him to meet my friends and said: ‘This is my boyfriend.’
“The next night we went on our first date. The next night he asked me to be his boyfriend. The night after that, after a couple of lychee martinis, he told me he loved me.
“He extended his trip, we were already talking about babies and weddings. So that was in the first week. It was weird.”
Their whirlwind romance culminated in an engagement in 2015.
Within two years, the pair had their dream wedding at Bovey Castle in Devon in front of 120 guests.
Daley shared the moment on Instagram to his followers with a snap of the pair together and a loving message.
He wrote: “On 6th May 2017, I married the love of my life, @dlanceblack.
“We shared the day with 120 of our closest friends and family, from Texarkana to Plymouth! Thank you to everyone who made this weekend the most special weekend of our lives!”
While Dustin added a photo of them arm-in-arm on top of the bridge about to kiss.
In 2018, Daley announced on Instagram that he and Dustin were expecting their first child via surrogacy.
That was met with criticism from some quarters, who unfairly labelled the pair selfish.
“Lots of people say, “why don’t you adopt?”,” Tom said in an interview with the Telegraph.
“You wouldn’t say that to a straight couple.
“You wouldn’t say: “Why do you deserve to have a biological kid?”‘
Their son, Robert “Robbie” Ray Black-Daley, was born on 27 June 2018. He was named after Tom’s dad, who passed away in 2011 from a brain tumour aged just 40.
They often share photos online of their family life, but protect their son’s identity.
Over the years, Daley and Dustin have fought for gay rights.
In a statement made on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018, he called on Commonwealth countries to repeal their anti-gay laws.
That forced then-UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to admit he would raise concerns about gay rights to leaders of countries where homosexuality is illegal.
Since 2015, Daley has also been a patron of LGBT+ charity Switchboard (UK).
But now, he’s an Olympic gold medalist. And you can’t say his life’s work hasn’t deserved it.