Great Britain

Tokyo 2020: Tom Daley says son Robbie, 3, means more than medals as he chases elusive Olympic gold

TOM DALEY would love to leave Tokyo with Olympic gold.

But what really matters to Britain’s most famous diver is that he absolutely knows what he is going home to.

The unconditional love that only a child can give.

Daley begins his fourth Olympic Games on Monday with a medal collection many would die for.

Three world championship golds, five European titles, two Olympic bronzes, four Commonwealth golds for England, and almost a double handful of minor medals.

And, just a couple of months ago, double gold from the World Cup event held in the Tokyo Olympic Aquatics centre, where he will again plunge from ten metres in the synchro event with partner Matty Lee.

Yet while the 27-year-old Daley craves the ultimate sporting bauble, there are now other things that make him a far more settled person than ever before.

Daley told SunSport: “I think any athlete would be lying if they said they didn’t want to win an Olympic gold medal.

“But at the end of the day, I am a father, I am a husband and I think a massive shift in perspective has happened for me over these last couple of years.

“With Robbie being born, then the pandemic, you realise what matters most. I think that is something that is really important knowing, going into the Olympic Games.

“Previously I used to define myself by how well I did in the diving pool.

“But there are other things to life and in my life that I find equally important.”

Robbie, now three, and husband Lance have given Daley both calmness and depth — which might make him an even better diver.

He added: “My son is the most important thing in the world for me.

“I wanted to go into these Olympic Games being the best prepared I could be, knowing I have no regrets whatsoever.

“Once I stand on the board, I will have prepared everything I possibly can. And, most of all, to enjoy it.

“Most athletes have spent years and years training for that moment to get to the Games.

“Then you torture yourself through the experience because you’re so nervous or put too much pressure on yourself.

“And, actually, being able to just enjoy it and having that perspective, knowing my son and my husband are going to love me regardless of how I dive, allows me to perform my best and be able to enjoy it.”

Daley will fill the void by keeping Robbie entertained — from 6,000 miles away.

He explained: “I take a little photo frame away with me, so he’s always on my bedside table.

“I wake up and see his face every morning.

“I’ll take one of his toys with me and take photos of it in various places for him. We get into a routine of FaceTime, while I also do a lot of treasure hunts, leaving little chocolates and notes around that he can find in random places.

“You know that some days he will want to speak to me and really be there and that some others he won’t. That’s totally fine.

“But Lance, or my mum if she’s around, will take videos so I get to be there for certain parts of it.

“I know he loves me, regardless, and it’s one of those things you just have to deal with.

“And the reunions when you go home are just magical, the best thing ever.”

As for the competition, Daley exudes belief and also has a thorough knowledge of his biggest opponents — although he is wary of his toughest dive, a forward 4½ somersault with tuck, which 'does make you dizzy'.

He said: “The Chinese are the ones to beat — they always are the ones to beat!

“They are the supreme diving nation and will try to win every single gold medal. It’s our job as Team GB to try and stop them.

“If you’d asked me in 2016, I would have said the individual was my best shot. This year I’d say they are very much equal.


Dream Team 2021/22


“With Matty, I’m the most prepared I’ve ever been going into the Olympics.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever trained in the same place as my synchro partner and that has really helped.

“With the individual, it’s one of those things where you never know what’s going to happen on the day. But I do feel very confident in both events.”

Tweet @MartinLipton


Team GB hopeful Tom Daley takes us inside Tokyo 2020's Olympic village

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