Daley overwhelmed by video response

Hillingdon Times: Tom Daley has spoken for the first time about a relationship he has started with another man Tom Daley has spoken for the first time about a relationship he has started with another man

Olympic diver Tom Daley has thanked supporters for backing his decision to announce he is in a gay relationship.

The 19-year-old British diver posted a video to YouTube to announce he was dating a man.

Daley followed up the video with a Twitter post following the widespread support his emotional admission garnered from fellow celebrities and fans alike.

"Overwhelmed by all the support! Means the world! Thanks so much guys," he posted this afternoon.

In his YouTube admission, Daley said he "couldn't be happier" after revealing his gay relationship.

"I've never really had a serious relationship to talk about," he said.

"Now I kind of feel ready to talk about my relationships.

"Come spring this year, my life changed massively when I met someone and it made me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great. And that someone is a guy."

Daley said the relationship "felt right" and instantly changed his world.

"Of course I still fancy girls. But I mean, right now I'm dating a guy and I couldn't be happier. It makes me feel safe and just really does feel right," he said.

Daley, whose father Rob Daley died in May 2011 following a battle with brain cancer, added: "People will think 'What will your dad say?' or 'What would your dad have said?'. He always said to me 'As long as you're happy, I'm happy', and right now I couldn't be happier."

The teenage sports star posted a link to the video to his 2.4 million Twitter followers, with the message: "Got something I need to say... not been an easy decision to make, hope you can support me!"

Support has been pouring in for the diver worldwide.

Pop star and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell retweeted the message, while gay Australian comedian Josh Thomas joked: "I think Tom Daley is the best win for the homosexual agenda since Dumbledore".

American TV star Neil Patrick Harris, who is also proudly gay, took a lighthearted approach as well, tweeting: "I'm relieved to know that all of my panting over @TomDaley1994 at the Summer Olympics wasn't completely misguided".

Former England footballer Gary Lineker said he hoped Daley's announcement would pave the way for other gay athletes.

"Hope the gay footballers who may be contemplating 'coming out' are encouraged by the groundswell of good feeling towards @TomDaley1994," he posted.

Several celebrities, including British broadcaster Piers Morgan, came to Daley's defence after homophobic comments surfaced in response to his announcement.

"To all the homophobes out there spewing bigoted bile about Tom Daley, I laugh in your wretched little faces. You're losing, he's winning," Morgan tweeted.

Daley conceded via his YouTube clip that although friends and relatives had been "so supportive" about his relationship, he had received "mixed opinions" from some family members.

"Lots of them didn't believe it," he said.

"Lots of them wanted me to keep it quiet, some said 'Why don't you do a statement? Why don't you do a magazine cover? Why don't you do a TV interview?'.

"I didn't want to get my words twisted. I wanted to put an end to all the rumours and speculation.

"I'm still Tom. I still want to win an Olympic gold medal at Rio 2016 for Great Britain. I'm still as motivated as ever to do that."

He said the decision to reveal details of his relationship came after he was misquoted in an interview.

"It made me feel really angry and frustrated," Daley added.

"Emotions I've never felt before when reading something about myself. Honesty is something I really believe in and I've always been honest. I may have been vague in some of the answers but I've always been honest."

Daley has gained legions of young female fans since bursting on to the sports scene, representing Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics aged just 14.

He went on to win two golds at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, before adding an Olympic bronze medal in the men's 10m platform event at London 2012.

Days after his Olympic medal win, thousands of supporters queued to meet their idol at book signings across the country, with some reportedly being turned away at a shopping centre near Bristol because the queue was so long.

Daley also hosts ITV entertainment show Splash! where celebrities are given the chance to test their diving skills, which is set to return for its second series next month.

Alice Arnold, broadcaster and partner of sports presenter Clare Balding, said Daley's coming out video would help his career.

"It will make him a better diver, because if you've got that monkey on your back you're worried all the time," she told Channel 5.

"It takes a lot of energy to live a secret life and he doesn't have to live a secret life, and that will improve everything for him and for everyone around him."

Ms Arnold said Daley's move would help other gay athletes.

"If you look on social media there is still some very bad attitudes amongst the very young in schools and I think he will help that," she said.

"I hope that his coming out will help that a lot."

Ms Arnold said the "beautifully" made video was essential for him to enjoy his private life.

"He needs to talk about it because if he wants to go for a meal in a restaurant with his boyfriend there will be cameramen outside waiting for him, paparazzi waiting for him, hounding him every step that he takes," she said.

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