Tom Daley, British Olympian, Comes Out

Tom Daley. | INSTAGRAM.COM/TOMDALEY1994

Tom Daley. | INSTAGRAM.COM/TOMDALEY1994

Tom Daley, the 19-year-old Olympic Bronze Medal Winner from Britain who shot to fame at 13 when he won that nation’s men’s national diving championship, ended longstanding speculation when he acknowledged in a December 2 YouTube video that he has been in a relationship with another man since last spring.

With nearly 2.5 million Twitter followers, the young athlete has long been a teen heartthrob, often showing up at press events wearing only his Speedos. The British gay magazine Attitude recently named him the sexiest man in the world.

Around that time, Daley was quoted in the UK Mirror saying, “I think it’s funny when people say I’m gay… I laugh it off. I’m not. But even if I was, I wouldn’t be ashamed. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest what people thought. But I can understand why I have a massive gay following. I spend most of my life half naked in trunks on a diving board showing off my bare chest.”

But in his new video, which he explained he made so he could speak to his fans unfiltered by the media, Daley said, “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. It was always in the back of my head that something like that could happen, but it wasn't until spring this year that something just clicked. It felt right. My whole world just changed, right there and then.”

Having just come out, Daley hastened to add, “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.”

Subsequent press reports have linked Daley to Oscar-winning “Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, though neither man has confirmed those reports. The 20-year age gap between the two men has created a bit of a dust-up online about a presumed relationship between two consenting adults. On December 10, the Towleroad blog posted an 11-second video that showed Black tagging along behind Daley as the diver departed a University of Houston gym in October.

In his YouTube video, the medal winner, who said he is committed to winning a Gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, suggested he was speaking out to clear up misconceptions about him created by the media.

“Recently, I was misquoted in an interview and it made me feel really angry and frustrated,” Daley said. “I’ve only ever talked about things I’ve felt comfortable talking about.”

He mentioned other private matters –– such as bullying in school and the death of his father from cancer in 2011 –– that he was unwilling to speak about publicly.

“I wanted to put an end to all the rumors and speculation,” Daley said. “Just say it and tell you guys.

Then reaffirming his commitment to continue training for Rio, he said, “It would be great to have you guys on my journey, too. And I just wanted to make sure that I got to tell you guys.”

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