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Tom Daley 'overwhelmed' by support after admitting gay relationship

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 02, 2013

By David Mercer & Nathan Paull

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Tom Daley

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Olympic diver Tom Daley has thanked supporters for backing his decision to announce he is in a gay relationship.

The 19-year-old British diver posted a video to YouTube to announce he was dating a man.

Daley followed up the video with a Twitter post following the widespread support his emotional admission garnered from fellow celebrities and fans alike.

“Overwhelmed by all the support! Means the world! Thanks so much guys,” he posted this afternoon.

In his YouTube admission, Daley said he “couldn’t be happier” after revealing his gay relationship.

“I’ve never really had a serious relationship to talk about,” he said.

“Now I kind of feel ready to talk about my relationships.

“Come spring this year, my life changed massively when I met someone and it made me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great. And that someone is a guy.”

Daley said the relationship “felt right” and instantly changed his world.

“Of course I still fancy girls. But I mean, right now I’m dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier. It makes me feel safe and just really does feel right,” he said.

Daley, whose father Rob Daley died in May 2011 following a battle with brain cancer, added: “People will think ‘What will your dad say?’ or ‘What would your dad have said?’. He always said to me ‘As long as you’re happy, I’m happy’, and right now I couldn’t be happier.”

The teenage sports star posted a link to the video to his 2.4 million Twitter followers, with the message: “Got something I need to say... not been an easy decision to make, hope you can support me!”

Support has been pouring in for the Plymouth-based diver worldwide.

Pop star and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell retweeted the message, while gay Australian comedian Josh Thomas joked: “I think Tom Daley is the best win for the homosexual agenda since Dumbledore”.

American TV star Neil Patrick Harris, who is also proudly gay, took a lighthearted approach as well, tweeting: “I’m relieved to know that all of my panting over @TomDaley1994 at the Summer Olympics wasn’t completely misguided”.

Former England footballer Gary Lineker said he hoped Daley’s announcement would pave the way for other gay athletes.

“Hope the gay footballers who may be contemplating ‘coming out’ are encouraged by the groundswell of good feeling towards @TomDaley1994,” he posted.

Several celebrities, including British broadcaster Piers Morgan, came to Daley’s defence after homophobic comments surfaced in response to his announcement.

“To all the homophobes out there spewing bigoted bile about Tom Daley, I laugh in your wretched little faces. You’re losing, he’s winning,” Morgan tweeted.

Daley conceded via his YouTube clip that although friends and relatives had been “so supportive” about his relationship, he had received “mixed opinions” from some family members.

“Lots of them didn’t believe it,” he said.

“Lots of them wanted me to keep it quiet, some said ‘Why don’t you do a statement? Why don’t you do a magazine cover? Why don’t you do a TV interview?’.

“I didn’t want to get my words twisted. I wanted to put an end to all the rumours and speculation.

“I’m still Tom. I still want to win an Olympic gold medal at Rio 2016 for Great Britain. I’m still as motivated as ever to do that.”

He said the decision to reveal details of his relationship came after he was misquoted in an interview.

“It made me feel really angry and frustrated,” Daley added.

“Emotions I’ve never felt before when reading something about myself. Honesty is something I really believe in and I’ve always been honest. I may have been vague in some of the answers but I’ve always been honest.”

Four-time Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis, who came out as gay following his retirement in 1995, was among the first to pay tribute to Daley in an open letter linked to his official website.

Louganis wrote: “I am so happy for you that you have someone, also for your mom, I am sure this will just bring you closer, and for your dad I am sure he is smiling down from heaven knowing his son is happy.”

Alice Arnold, broadcaster and partner of sports presenter Clare Balding, said Daley's coming out video would help his career.

“It will make him a better diver, because if you’ve got that monkey on your back you’re worried all the time,” she told Channel 5.

“It takes a lot of energy to live a secret life and he doesn’t have to live a secret life, and that will improve everything for him and for everyone around him.”

Ms Arnold said Daley’s move would help other gay athletes.

“If you look on social media there is still some very bad attitudes amongst the very young in schools and I think he will help that,” she said.

“I hope that his coming out will help that a lot.”

Ms Arnold said the “beautifully” made video was essential for him to enjoy his private life.

“He needs to talk about it because if he wants to go for a meal in a restaurant with his boyfriend there will be cameramen outside waiting for him, paparazzi waiting for him, hounding him every step that he takes,” she said.

British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes expressed the governing body’s full support for Daley, saying in a statement: “Everybody within British Swimming supports Tom and his announcement.

“It’s a very private matter and doesn’t change the very positive way in which we will continue to work with Tom.

“Tom is one of the world’s leading athletes and has achieved success at every level of competition including Olympic bronze and world gold.

“I hope the media will give Tom the privacy he deserves to allow him to continue to focus on performance as he continues to be an inspiration and role model to millions around the globe.”

Edward Coe, chairman of the ASA Group Board, who was himself named a role model by the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall last year, also offered his unequivocal support.

Coe said: “We must support Tom Daley in taking this incredibly courageous step.

“To be one of the first Olympic athletes to come out is very brave and will, I hope, be a signal not just to other sports people but to all young people that you can be open about your sexuality, even in a very public environment.

“I am very proud of Tom.”

Daley has gained legions of young female fans since bursting on to the sports scene, representing Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics aged just 14.

He went on to win two golds at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, before adding an Olympic bronze medal in the men’s 10m platform event at London 2012.

Days after his Olympic medal win, thousands of supporters queued to meet their idol at book signings across the country, with some reportedly being turned away at a shopping centre near Bristol because the queue was so long.

Daley also hosts ITV entertainment show Splash! where celebrities are given the chance to test their diving skills, which is set to return for its second series next month.

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