Professional sports have few openly gay athletes, but on Monday, 19-year-old British diver Tom Daley revealed he is in a relationship with a man. The Olympic athlete, who won a bronze medal at last year’s summer Olympics and is one of Britain’s most popular sportsmen, came out in a YouTube video posted Monday, during which he said his life was “massively” changed when he met someone. “That someone is a guy,” he said.
“Come spring, this year, my life changed … when I met someone and it made me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great,” Daley explained.
The medal winner admitted he was taken “by surprise” after he met and started dating a guy but that he was ready to be open about his relationships. “It was always in the back of my head that it could happen, but it wasn’t until the spring of this year that something clicked,” Daley said. “It felt right. Like I said, my whole world just changed right there and then.”
“Of course, I still fancy girls,” he added. “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."
Daley came out via a five-minute-long video uploaded to his YouTube channel. The clip has already been viewed more than 1.5 million times, as of Monday afternoon. “This has been a hard decision to make, but I wanted you to hear this from me,” Daley stated in the video’s caption.
The Web has erupted with support for the openly gay athlete. Even Australian pop artist Kylie Minogue showed her support for the diver in a tweet. “Inspiring and brave, as always!!!! #RespectTom,” the singer tweeted.
“I'm 100% behind you, and I think it is a very nice thing that you told us rather than let us hear rumours, I hope you will be very happy with this guy,” one supporter commented on YouTube.
Daley has long been in the public spotlight ever since he qualified for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, when he was just 14 years old. The teen has appeared on multiple magazine covers and attended a number of book signings and TV interviews. Usually appearing in photos wearing only his signature speedo, Daley has even become something of a heartthrob among his army of fans.
Daley has previously addressed rumors that he was gay, even stating that he didn’t care if people thought he was, or that he didn’t mind having gay fans. “I think it’s funny when people say I’m gay. ... I laugh it off. ... I’m not," he told The Mirror earlier this year. "But even if I was, I wouldn’t be ashamed. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest what people thought."
Now those rumors of Daley being gay can be laid to rest. "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,” Daley said.
Here’s Tom Daley’s coming out video as posted to the diver’s YouTube page:
Philip Ross joined IBTimes in March 2013. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from New York University and a B.A. in International Development Studies from the University of...