Aquatics / Olympics

Daley cannot believe he has finally won an Olympic gold medal

PLYMOUTH’S Tom Daley cried tears of joy as he finally ended his long wait to win an Olympic gold medal.

Daley, competing at his fourth Olympic Games, triumphed in an incredible men’s 10m synchro final with Great Britain team-mate Matty Lee in Tokyo on Monday morning.

They beat the much-fancied Chinese pair of Yuan Cao and Aisen Chen by just 1.23 points.

In a high-quality competition, Daley and Lee scored 471.81 points, with Cao and Chen finishing with 470.58.

The British pair looked to have secured gold when they nailed their final high degree of difficulty forward four-and-a-half somersault dive to bag 101.01 points.

It meant the only way the Chinese could overtake them was if they produce a perfect back two-and-a-half somersault and two-and-a-twist final dive. Yet they nearly did that and Daley and Lee had a nervous wait while the score was announced. Cao and Chen netted 101.52 points, which was just short of what they needed.

It led to tremendous scenes of joy from Olympic veteran Daley and debutant Lee and the Team GB backroom staff.

An Olympic gold was the one medal missing from Daley’s collection. He had picked up bronze medals in Rio and London and won golds at the World Championships, European Championship and Commonwealth Games.

“I honestly can’t believe it,” said 27-year-old Daley afterwards. “When the national anthem played, I was gone – I couldn’t even sing. I was just blubbering.

“To win an Olympic gold was my lifetime goal.

“It has been a dream for so long. This gold medal means a lot to me. It means effort, sacrifice and dedication. 

“What a feeling to finally have this gold medal round my neck after so many years – I’ve been diving now for 20 years and this is my fourth Olympic Games. With the support of Matty coming into this competition and the way we’ve been preparing we’ve kind of had that unstoppable mentality this year and that’s the first time I’ve ever been able to think like that, that we are the ones to beat, I still honestly can’t believe what’s happening.”

Despite achieving his life-long ambition, Daley has dismissed speculation he will retire after the Games.

“The end of my career? Definitively not, I’ll be too sad,” he said. “I am for sure taking a break, but don’t get me wrong, I’ll continue doing this. Plus, there are still three years until Paris 2024. My body has been through a lot of pain and effort, so I will rest for a while, but I won’t stop”

Daley, who made his Olympic debut as a 14-year-old in Beijing back in 2008, will be looking to add to his medal collection when he competes in the individual event on August 6.

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