From Child Prodigy To Champion, Tom Daley Succeeds In Quest For Olympic Gold

At his fourth Olympic Games, Daley, alongside Matty Lee, clinched gold in the men’s synchronised 10m platform.​
11:55, 26 Jul 2021

It has taken four Olympic Games, but Tom Daley finally claimed his first gold medal alongside Matty Lee in the men’s synchronised 10m platform.

In a thrilling finale, the British pair watched from the sides as Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen conducted their last dive before erupting into wild celebrations when they realised they had pinched the gold away from China, who have dominated the event since 2000.

Since his first Games back in Beijing in 2008, Daley has always been viewed as Great Britain’s young prodigy as his debut came when he was just 14 years old. It has been a long and demanding journey for the Plymouth-born diver and his gold in Tokyo is nothing short of what he deserves.

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It was in Beijing where Daley got his first taste of the Olympics where he competed in the men’s individual 10m dive and the men’s synchronised 10m platform following the retirement of 2004 silver medallist Leon Taylor. In the individual event, he finished seventh and he finished eighth in the synchronised event with Blake Aldridge.

There were a lot of eyes on Daley, along with most of Team GB’s medal hopes for the home Games in London in 2012. With the 2008 experience behind him, Daley was able to better his performances on the big stage as he claimed the bronze medal in the individual dive, while finishing fourth in the synchronised event, partnered this time with Pete Waterfield. It was great to see Daley claim a medal on home soil following the tragic loss of his father in the year prior and he brought pride to both his family and his nation.

The Games in Rio five years ago saw a huge dip in Daley’s form for the individual event as he underwhelmingly 18th, which he was bitterly disappointed with. However, it was not a bad tournament overall as he claimed his first medal in the synchronised dive alongside Daniel Goodfellow. 

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The long wait of 13 years for that Olympic gold came in Tokyo on Monday and Daley is still set to take part in the men’s individual platform - what a feat it would be if he could do the double!

"I still can't honestly believe what is happening," Daley told BBC Sport. "That moment, being about to be announced as Olympic champions, I was gone. I was blubbering."

Daley was in tears when the national anthem played in the medal ceremony, a truly incredible moment for Daley, his family, and Team GB.

For Daley to finally get his hands on his first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo is poetic for the career has had, with the setbacks and near misses and while the 27-year-old will take all the plaudits for ending China’s reign, a lot of credit must go to his partner Lee.

The 23-year-old has given Daley the boost he has needed to claim his much-coveted Olympic gold, claiming his first in the process in his debut Games.

Daley and Lee have made history in Japan and both, particularly Daley, will quite rightly join the pantheon of Great British Olympic legends. 

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