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09th Aug 2021

Tom Daley hits back at Russian state TV for homophobic attacks

Charlie Herbert

The channel had used words such as “abomination” and “perversion” when talking about LGBT athletes

Tom Daley has responded to the Russian state TV channel that directed homophobic attacks and abuse at him and other LGBT athletes during the Tokyo Olympics.

Channel Rossiya 1 aired a number of offensive slurs against athletes such as Daley and Laura Hubbard during their coverage of the games.

They spoke negatively about LGBT athletes and used words such as “abomination” and “perversion” to describe them.

In response to the comments, Daley said he hadn’t been aware of the abuse whilst he was competing.

He said: “I had no idea. When we’re at the Olympics, we’re in a bubble and we don’t really see anything.

“History shows that everything that society is has been dictated from the straight, white, male experience.

“If we could come together and use different points of view, the world would be a better place.”

The 27-year-old went on to say that there is “still a lot further to go” in terms of equality for LGBT people.

“There are 10 countries competing at these Olympics where being LGBT is punishable by death,” he said.

“I feel extremely lucky to be representing Team GB, to be able to stand on the diving board as myself, with a husband and a son, and not have to worry about any ramifications.

“There are lots of people who grow up around the world in less fortunate situations.”

Related links:

IOC investigate Russian TV’s attacks on Tom Daley and Laurel Hubbard

Tom Daley hopes his performance will inspire LGBT people to realise “you can achieve anything”

Tom Daley coming out was a defining moment in my gay youth – his gold medal is another

Speaking after winning bronze in the 10m diving final, Daley said that he hopes that LGBTQ+ performing on the international stage will help people to feel like they are “less alone, like they are valued, like they can achieve something.”

He added: “When I was growing up, I always knew I was different. I always heard people saying bad things.

“You never feel as if you can say anything. You swallow yourself up, and you feel like you’re never going to be anyone.

“It takes a lot to come out and speak openly. It can be quite daunting and scary for people, especially in sports where the fanbases might not be as accepting.

“I didn’t realise the impact it would have on people around the world to live as myself. I feel extremely proud of that.”

The International Olympics Committee have told the BBC they have contacted Rossiya 1 to share their concerns over their comments.