LONDON (Reuters) - British Olympic diver Tom Daley thanked his fans for their support and received the backing of British Swimming after announcing on Monday that he was dating a man.
The 19-year-old Daley, who won bronze in the men’s 10 meter platform at last year’s London Games, tweeted: “Overwhelmed by all the support! Means the world! Thanks so much guys”.
Daley had earlier made the announcement on YouTube, saying in a video: “Come spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone and they make me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great - and that someone is a guy.
“It did take me by surprise a little bit. It was always in the back of my head that something like that could happen, but it wasn’t until spring this year that something just clicked, it felt right... and my whole world just changed there and then.
“Of course I still fancy girls but I mean right now I’m dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier.”
British Swimming chief David Sparkes said: “Everybody within British Swimming supports Tom and his announcement. It’s a very private matter and doesn’t change the very positive way in which we will continue to work with Tom.
“Tom is one of the world’s leading athletes and has achieved success at every level of competition including Olympic bronze and world gold,” he added in a statement reported by British media.
“I hope the media will give Tom the privacy he deserves to allow him to continue to focus on performance as he continues to be an inspiration and role model to millions around the globe.”
Daley, the youngest Briton to win a senior world diving title at the age 15, added in his YouTube clip: “I’m still Tom. I still want to win a gold medal in Rio (at the 2016 Olympics) for Britain, I’m still as motivated as ever to do that.”
His former mentor Leon Taylor, who won silver at the 2004 Olympics in the synchronized 10m diving, told the BBC: “Tom is an inspiration to so many people and I think this is just going to add to the amazing influence he has.”
Writing by Ken Ferris; editing by Nick Mulvenney