Peter Wiseman’s Olympic Athlete Profile: Tom Daley

At just 22 years of age Olympic diver, Tom Daley, has lived a life full of nightmares. 

Daley who is also a TV personality in Great Britian, suffered post traumatic stress disorder when he had to redo a dive after losing control of his first attempt due to flash photography in front of the home crowd in the 2002 Olympics. 

Not long after that, he also had to tell his mom he was in a gay relationship with American screenwriter, director, film and television producer and LGBT rights activist, Dustin Lance Black.

Fortunately for Daley, he was able to turn around the diving performance quite nicely, and after being nearly perfect in the ensuing rounds, was able to sneak away with a bronze medal, just one year after his father, Robert, died from a brain tumor.

His event with mom didn’t go so bad either, as he let it slip during a family barbecue, that he was in a relationship with Black. 

“My mum had no idea. It was just a random conversation. We were having a barbecue at my house, Lance was making burgers and I was in the kitchen, “I said to Mum, ‘What do you think of Lance?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, he’s great. He makes great burgers.’ So I told her I was in a relationship with him.”

“She said, ‘Like a gay relationship?’ And I said, ‘Yeah’. And she said, ‘Oh… all right’. She had no idea, despite the fact I’d brought this guy home for the weekend. I was lucky. It was so easy, and you hear some horror stories.”

Daley has been very candid with the public about his struggles, admitting that he is a horrible swimmer, allergic to chlorine, and that he almost gave up diving after the traumatic event.

“I spend most of my time in or under the water so it’s a fair assumption. But here’s my revelation: I’m a terrible swimmer. That’s right, even though I’ve been diving for 15 years I still think it’s absolutely miraculous that people can stay on top of the water…”

The thing we have grown to love about Daley, is his ability to shrug off his missteps as if they never happened, such as when he was bullied in college.


 

“I always thought people called me gay just because that’s what you do. I don’t think it was linked to my sexuality. It happens all the time to everyone at school. It’s the same with people on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. It doesn’t really bother me. I’m quite thick-skinned.”

It’s that determination and resilience that will have us all cheering for Daley in Rio, as he attempts to turn his past nightmares into a dream of Olympic gold.

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