The long wait is over — Tom Daley has his Olympic gold medal.
Daley and Matty Lee won the gold medal in the men’s synchronized swimming 10m platform event, besting the defending champions Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen representing China by little more than a single point. It was the first time divers from China did not take first place since 2000. It was an emotional win, and he could be seen shedding tears on the victory podium.
“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.”
The British boys had a total score of 471.81, but had to wait for the final dive of Cao and Chen. However, Daley and Lee’s performance was too much for the defending champions. When Cao and Chen’s final combined score of 470.81 was posted on the giant screen, Daley and Lee leaped in an emotional celebration.
Daley, 27, first competed at an Olympics in 2008 when he was only 14 years old, and while he’s netted numerous gold medals in international competition, the Olympic gold had eluded him…until now. He had previously won bronze for the solo 10m platform event in 2012, and another bronze for the synchronized 10m platform event in 2016.
The out diver was not alone in his celebrations. His husband, Dustin Lance Black, was equally emotional watching the win with their young son, Robbie.
“No words!” Black posted to Twitter. “So many tears!”
Earlier this year, Daley netted two gold medals with victories at the FINA World Cup. He won the 10m platform dive and teamed up with Matty Lee to take home top honors for the synchronized 10m platform event as well.
“Hello, Robbie, if you’re watching!” Daley said after the double gold victories.
Daley followed up that victory with his personal best dive in the individual 10m platform event at the European Champions in Budapest in May. Even then, though, he remained grounded and focused on his family back home.
“I’ve always said that this is a great medal to win but my biggest medal is waiting at home for me – my son and my husband – so I’m very excited to get back to them,” Daley said. “I get to enjoy diving, enjoy performing and competing but what this year has really taught us is what’s important – friends, family and everyone staying healthy.”