Tony Guadagnino is a marketing consultant. Located in New Jersey, his clients are based across the country, focusing on social media to build their presence on the internet. He studied creative writing in college and is currently working on his first novel on the subject of bullying. He lives with his partner Mark.
With the Olympics coming back in on July 23rd in Tokyo, it’s time to re-examine some of the previous LGBT Athletes who have represented our community in Olympic history. Having featured some of the top American athletes over the last year, I am going to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom and discuss Tom Daley.
Tom Daley is a well-known British diver and an Olympic bronze medalist. He began professionally diving at the young age of 8. While taking driving lessons, a coach spotted him, recruited him, and placed him in competitive squad diving. He competed in his first-ever competition a year later at the National Novice Championship, where he won a medal in the 8 and 9-year-olds boys category. Just five months later, he took part in an “Invitation Only” diving competition, in which he won the 1 m, 3 m, and platform events. For the next three years, he competed and won his age group in the British Championships in 1 m springboards, 3 m springboard, and platform. Barely into the age of double-digits, Tom was making a name for himself in the sport of diving.
At the age of 12, Tom Daley was given a special dispensation to compete in the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (the minimum age is 15). He won the silver medal with partner Callum Johnstone in the 10 m synchronized-diving. Late that year, he won the senior platform title at the Amateur Swimming Association, then entered the International Swimming Federation’s diving circuit and World Series events, finishing fourth in the individual competition. Tom Daley was now being looked upon as a contender for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
A year before the Olympics, Tom paired with Peter Waterfield (a silver medalist in 2004) in synchronized diving competitions and entered diving competitions to prepare for the Summer Olympics. They placed high enough to qualify, believing they would win the first medal of the Games for Great Britain. As they competed in the 10 m men’s synchronized platform event, a poor reverse 3 ½ somersault with a tuck in the fourth round put them out of the running, and they ended up placing fourth in the competition.
However, not leaving empty-handed, Tom did win the bronze medal for the 10 m men’s platform.
But, it was the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro where Tom truly shined for Great Britain. Teaming up this time with Daniel Goodfellow for the 10 m men’s platform synchro competition, the dynamic duo won the bronze medal, and Tom scored the highest points ever in the preliminary diving. Tom Daley had planned on entering the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but with the pandemic, I’m sure we will see him on the diving platform this summer.
Outside of diving, Tom Daley is an out and proud married man. In 2010, he created a youtube channel where he vlogs on exercise, food, and overall health. It was one of these vlogs in 2013 when he announced he was in a relationship with a man and has “never been happier.” He has never truly called himself “gay” or “bisexual,” and he claims that he still “fancies” girls. In 2018, he called himself “queer,” stating:
“I am not 100 percent straight; I am not 100 percent gay. I’d been in relationships with girls where I’d had sexual feelings, but it became so much more intense when I met Lance.”
Who is Lance? Lance his husband, director, and producer Dustin Lance Black, won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2008 for Milk.
At the young age of 26, Tom Daley will shine at the Tokyo Olympics. England will be there to congratulate him as he brings more medals to his home.