independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

I'm in a relationship with a man and am happy, says Olympic star Daley

Tom Daley: revealed he was gay in a YouTube video
Tom Daley: revealed he was gay in a YouTube video

BRITISH Olympic diving hero Tom Daley has revealed that he is gay.

The medal winner made the announcement on a modestly produced YouTube video.

The 19-year-old Olympic medallist has become Britain's most high-profile gay sportsperson after revealing online that he "couldn't be happier" since he began a relationship with a man.

Speaking for five minutes in the video, which he tweeted to his 2.4 million followers yesterday morning, Daley said his life had "changed massively" since the relationship began earlier this year.

He admitted the relationship had taken him "by surprise", adding: "My whole world just changed, right there and then."

Daley, who won bronze at London 2012 and is the presenter of ITV's celebrity diving show, 'Splash!', is one of the few British sports stars to have revealed that they are gay or bisexual at the height of their careers.

He joins Carl Hester, who won Olympic gold in 2012 with the GB dressage team; Nicola Adams, the gold medal-winning boxer who has said she is bisexual; and Steven Davies, the Surrey and England cricketer.

Daley, who represented Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics aged just 14 and has since gained legions of young female fans, said posting the video had "not been an easy decision to make".

SUPPORT

Admitting there were "mixed opinions" from some family members when he disclosed the relationship to them, Daley said he wanted to put an end to "rumours and speculation" and asked his fans to support him.

Daley received widespread support from across the sporting world.

Gary Lineker, the 'Match of the Day' presenter, tweeted that he was: "Delighted that Tom Daley is happy in his new relationship. Well done for sharing it. Good luck to them both."

However, John Amaechi, the British-born basketball player who was the first NBA star to reveal that he was gay, said Daley had taken a "calculated risk" that discussing his private life would enhance his popularity and sporting performance.

"The energy it takes to hide any relationships and use gender-neutral pronouns when talking about your partner... he's decided that's so detrimental going forward, so it's worth just speaking out now," Mr Amaechi, now a psychologist, told the BBC.

Yesterday Ireland's first openly gay GAA star Donal Og Cusack, lent his support to Daley.

In a tweet posted on his Twitter account last night, the 34-year-old Cork hurling star – who stunned the sports world when he announced he was gay in his 2009 autobiography, 'Come What May' – offered his congratulations to the 19-year-old British bronze medalist.

"Well done@TomDaley1994," he tweeted. "Be strong, be who you are and live while you can." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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