As the British sporting icon and two-time medallist prepares for his fourth Olympic games, this time he’ll be diving with an added incentive – to make his son proud.
It’s 3:34pm on a Tuesday afternoon and Tom Daley has just arrived home from training where he’s been prepping for the first competition of this, another Olympic year.
Yesterday was Daley and his husband’s, American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, eight year anniversary and tomorrow marks a year since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed so as we wait to ‘admit Daley into the room’ we wonder what bearing the timing of our Zoom might have on the 26 year old, sandwiched between two notable dates for the two-time Olympic medallist.
The answer: very little bearing, or so it would seem, as Daley jumps into the room all smiles. His entry is clean and splash free – two diving analogies too many in lieu of any technical glitches, camera issues or “you’re on mute” exclamations. He’s dressed snugly in a trendy looking black and white fleece he promises he didn’t knit himself (he’s been a serial knitter during lockdown as you’ll find out).
“Training was good, thanks! I have a comp next week, a virtual one,” says Daley, casually, as though virtual diving competitions are thing. “There's going to be guys from Canada, Germany and the UK competing against each other and a virtual judging panel with two judges in each location watching live then watching videos of the others. It will be live streamed within the diving community that's competing so I think it'll work out. It'll be fun. It'll just be nice to go out and compete to be honest,” he adds, his words genuine and laced with gratitude.
There has been nothing normal about this year and athletes’ preparation for the Olympics is no different. Training facilities were closed for months, which doesn’t translate particularly well for someone who specialises in executing technical dives from 10-metres high. When athletes were permitted to train, they were faced with not knowing if what they were training for was actually going to happen. And just days ago, news emerged from Japan that no foreign spectators are allowed to travel to Tokyo. For Daley, accustomed to seeing 100s of Union Jack flags littered around the crowd in previous games, this meant his husband and son Robbie, who’s three in June, wouldn’t be there to see him perform.
Tom wears Omega and Adidas on the cover of Man About Town's SS21 issue.
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