Diving gold medallist Tom Daley has been hailed as “inspiring” after he told young LGBT people they “can achieve anything”.
Daley made his Olympic debut as a 14-year-old in Beijing in 2008 and went on to win bronze medals in 2012 and 2016.
After winning gold with diving partner Matty Lee in the synchronised 10m platform in Tokyo on Monday, Daley said: “I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion.”
Daley, who came out in 2013, added: “I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone. You can achieve anything.”
Robbie de Santos, director of communications and external affairs at the charity Stonewall, said: “Seeing Tom’s incredible win is an important reminder of what we can achieve when we are free to thrive as ourselves, and hearing his inspiring words of pride as a gay man and an Olympic champion will mean so much to millions of LGBTQ+ people across the world.
“This year, a record number of openly LGBTQ+ athletes are competing at Tokyo’s Games, which sends a powerful message that we are at our best when we can be ourselves.
“While it is incredible to see so many athletes being visibly LGBTQ+, there’s still more to do to ensure that sport is truly inclusive to everyone.”
Daley, who is married to American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, said: “In terms of out athletes, there are more openly out athletes at these Olympic Games than any Olympic Games previously.
“I came out in 2013 and when I was younger I always felt like the one that was alone and different and didn’t fit.
“There was something about me that was never going to be as good as what society wanted me to be.
“There is a whole lot of your chosen family out here ready to support you.
“When I was younger I didn’t think I’d ever achieve anything because of who I was.
“To be an Olympic champion now just shows that you can achieve anything.”