The young boy facing the camera spoke with a smile, but everyone could see the steeliness in his eyes.
“I want to get to the Olympics and win a gold medal,” Tom Daley told the BBC in 2005. He was holding a picture he’d made – a drawing of himself doing a handstand on the 10m diving platform at the London Games, then still seven years away.
“If I wasn’t to win, it would drive me on to be at the next Olympics and get that medal then.”
Daley was just 11 when he stated that mission. What he’s achieved since – including becoming world champion at 15 and twice winning Olympic bronze – owes much to a remarkable resolve that’s also helped overcome struggles away from the pool.
Growing up, he was bullied at school. In 2011, his father died at the age of 40. He feared the consequences of revealing his sexuality before coming out in 2013.
Daley is Britain’s most decorated diver, but he possesses a level of fame that far transcends his discipline. He has become one of sport’s highest-profile gay…