Olympic diver Tom Daley has opened up that even though he felt ‘inferior’ because of his sexuality growing up, it gave him motivation to become a success.
Daley made the revelations on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs show. The show invites celebrities to share the eight songs, a book and a luxury that they would take to a desert island.
The diver’s chose his first song, Proud by Heather Small, because of everything he overcame to dive at the 2012 London Olympics. Daley said the song still gave him goosebumps. Daley won a bronze medal at those Olympics.
But growing up, Daley felt ‘less than’ other people growing up because of his sexuality.
‘To this day, those feelings of feeling less than, and feeling different, have been the real things that have given me the power and strength to be able to succeed,’ he said on the show.
Daley on fatherhood and marriage
Daley told the BBC that since he had his son Robbie, he took the Olympics less seriously.
The diver and his husband, writer Dustin Lance Black, welcomed their first child in June this year.
‘If you had asked me last year, it was all about “I need to win a gold medal”,’ he said.
‘You know what, there are bigger things than Olympic gold medals. My Olympic gold medal is Robbie.’
Daley also responded to criticism about the age gap between him and Black, who is 20 years his senior. He admitted growing up faster than others from the pressure of professional sports and losing his father to cancer.
The couple named their son after Daley’s father, Robert, who died a year before the London Olympics. Even on his deathbed Robert wanted to sit in the front row to watch his son at the Olympics.
‘I couldn’t say to him “you’re not going to be around to be on the front row dad”,’ he said.
‘I was holding his hand as he stopped breathing and it wasn’t until he’d actually stopped breathing and he was dead that I finally acknowledged he wasn’t invincible.’