Nearly 1 twelvemonth aft winning an Olympic golden medal, Tom Daley has waded into the literate satellite ― and, for the archetypal time, he’s acceptable to publically admit the vulnerabilities that prevarication beneath his record-smashing diversion prowess.
The 28-year-old British diver lays his emotions bare successful a new book, “Coming Up for Air: What I Learned From Sport, Fame and Fatherhood.” Released successful the U.S. past month, the publication eschews the accepted memoir format. Instead, it’s a postulation of 11 idiosyncratic essays that delve into the triumphs and tribulations he’s experienced since being catapulted into the planetary spotlight. Each effort has a unsocial rubric — “Perseverance,” “Acceptance” and “Confidence,” among others — that refers to a idiosyncratic property helium says he’s developed successful his years arsenic a competitory athlete.
“I deliberation it’s important, if you’re a disposable queer person, to effort and assistance different radical and not conscionable beryllium with your privilege,” Daley told HuffPost. “As soon arsenic you commencement beating yourself up astir making mistakes, you commencement to interest astir making them successful the archetypal place. You halt taking risks and increasing arsenic a person.”
Fans volition beryllium thrilled to cognize that “Coming Up for Air” details Daley’s Olympic golden medal win successful the men’s synchronized 10-meter level astatine the Tokyo Olympics past year.
But helium besides opens up astir grief, assemblage image, household and his aboriginal fears erstwhile it came to embracing his information arsenic a cheery man. He shares anecdotes from his matrimony to Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, referred to simply arsenic “Lance” passim the text. The 2 men are fathers to a 3-year-old son, Robbie.
HuffPost caught up with Daley portion helium was visiting New York arsenic portion of his “Coming Up for Air” publication circuit past month. Here’s what helium had to accidental astir the book, being an LGBTQ rights advocator and, of course, his emotion of knitting.
Unlike astir memoirs, the stories successful “Coming Up for Air” aren’t told successful chronological order. Why did you opt for that approach?
Being an Olympian is 1 thing, but however tin I instrumentality what I’ve learned arsenic an jock and subordinate it to mundane life? Because determination are tons of parallels. It’s precise akin to the goals you mightiness person astatine school, the stresses that you mightiness person astatine a occupation — the teamwork and squad efforts. So I wanted to effort and marque it arsenic easy digestible arsenic possible, to person thing that [readers] mightiness beryllium capable to subordinate to.
You won a golden medal astatine the Summer Olympics successful Tokyo past year. What was that infinitesimal like?
It was incredibly overwhelming due to the fact that I’ve worked for 20 years to get there. It inactive seems precise surreal that it adjacent happened, to beryllium honest. It’s the 1 happening that’s kept maine going for truthful long, the thought of winning an Olympic golden medal. As I explicate successful the book, the adjacent time was the archetypal time that I woke up with a existent consciousness of peace. It was a existent consciousness of: “You cognize what? We’ve done it.”
You interaction connected the events that pb up to your determination to travel retired successful a 2013 YouTube video. If you were to bash it each implicit again, would you alteration thing astir that process?
It was truthful freeing and had specified an interaction connected my show successful a affirmative mode that I privation I’d done it earlier. Back then, I was truthful scared. I was truthful disquieted astir losing sponsors. My dada had died a mates of years earlier that, and I wanted to inactive beryllium capable to enactment my family. When radical are telling you that you mightiness suffer sponsors, of people it’s going to scare you into staying successful the closet for longer than you’d privation to.
In the book, you notation that you and Lance were connected a akin nonrecreational trajectories — he’d won an Oscar for 2008’s “Milk,” you won a bronze medal successful the 2012 Summer Olympics — erstwhile you began dating. How would you picture your narration now?
I’d decidedly accidental we’re some dreamers. We situation to dream, and we situation to imagination big. If I say: “I truly privation to bash this,” helium mightiness say: “Why halt there? Dream bigger. Go bigger. Why not?” If we some privation to bash something, we’re like: “You cognize what? We’re going to enactment hard and marque it happen.” We some cognize what it takes to get to the apical level successful what we do. I cognize we’re precise fortunate, but we similar to enactment hard and truly conscionable springiness everything our best.
As a queer person, bash you ever privation that your idiosyncratic milestones — getting married, having a kid — weren’t scrutinized arsenic if they were governmental statements?
I consciousness similar each minorities, successful immoderate mode … thing we bash is successful immoderate mode seen arsenic being political. At the extremity of the day, each I cognize is that I emotion Lance and I wanted to wed him, and we felt truly powerfully astir having a family. And now, we person our lad that we emotion dearly. It mightiness look governmental to immoderate people, but it each comes from a spot of love.
[Marriage and fatherhood have] changed the mode I prioritize things. Just being capable to spell to the Olympics and cognize that careless of what happens, my household volition emotion maine and enactment me, takes a batch of the unit disconnected and allows maine to really bask it. And erstwhile I bask what I’m doing, I get the champion results.
What bash you accidental to young LGBTQ radical who archer you that they look to you arsenic a relation model?
It’s rather overwhelming and I ne'er truly cognize what to say. When I came out, that was ne'er my thinking. It was much like: “I conscionable can’t woody with this anymore. I request to conscionable accidental what I’m reasoning and however I’m feeling.” To deliberation that radical mightiness person watched my video and past felt harmless and capable to person conversations with their parents oregon friends … I ne'er thought it would ever person that impact.
I’d beryllium remiss if I didn’t inquire astir your knitting, and your caller foray into knitwear plan with your Made With Love brand. Were you amazed by the attraction it received?
My manager said I needed to find thing wherever I could beryllium down, remainder and recover, due to the fact that I’m ever idiosyncratic who’s connected the go. Then Lance said: “People connected movie sets knit sweaters. Why don’t you springiness it go?”
My property conscionable dove consecutive in. I didn’t privation to bash it half-assed. I was like: “I’m going to bash this, and truly larn however to bash it.” I didn’t cognize anyone was going to beryllium funny successful my knitting. But now, being capable to walk connected my passionateness for knitting to different radical done Made With Love … if idiosyncratic had told maine 5 years agone that I’d beryllium an Olympic champion and doing knitwear plan … it conscionable seems truthful surreal.
What are you dreaming astir now, and what bash you anticipation to execute in, say, the adjacent 5 to 10 years?
I’d emotion to beryllium the main anchor of the Olympics broadcast for the BBC, oregon NBC if I’m successful the U.S. I’d emotion to bash a Fashion Week amusement with knitwear. I’d emotion to grow our household arsenic well.
This interrogation has been lightly edited and condensed.