Tom Daley says he 'couldn't fully grieve' his dad's death
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British Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley sat down with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield for a candid interview on ITV’s This Morning. While promoting his new novel Coming Up For Air, he detailed the struggle he faced to grieve his father’s death.
During the interview, the 27-year-old revealed he didn’t fully grieve the loss of his father when he passed away in 2011.
At 40 years old, Robert Daley tragically died as a result of a brain tumor one year before the athlete achieved his dream of winning bronze at the London Olympics.
Tom stated this was a goal he shared with his father, who was a huge supporter of his diving capabilities.
He said: “My Dad was my biggest support, my biggest cheerleader and I’d like to think he’d be extremely proud of me finally winning an Olympic gold medal.”
During Thursday’s episode of This Morning, Holly asked him about his grieving process, which he opened up about in his novel.
Tom disclosed: “I found it really difficult to process that I was never going to see him again.”
“And although I knew he was sick and was going to pass away at some point, when it actually happened it was so horrible to think about, that I actually couldn’t let it sink in that he wasn’t going to see me compete in London 2012,” the diver explained.
“Because it was always something we’d always dreamed of doing together, it was a very challenging thing to try and overcome and I kind of blinkered myself to 2012, it was so go go.”
Reflecting on life with his father’s passing, Tom added: “One of the amazing things before he passed away was, all he ever talked about was London 2012, and if we have tickets.
“And at the time we didn’t have tickets and parents couldn’t be around the poolside and parents had to be very much away from the athletes,” he disclosed.
Despite this, Tom also revealed how his dad had the “best seats in the house,” during the 2012 London Olympics.
He added: “But what ended up happening was that we buried some of his ashes under the tile of the bottom of the platform so that I could put my drinks bottle there and I could touch it every time I was about to perform. So he had the best seats in the house in the end!”
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Tom won the hearts of the British public and became a household name after winning a bronze medal for diving at the iconic 2012 London Olympics.
At the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the athlete won his first Gold medal alongside Matty Lee for the men’s synchronized 10-metre platform event.
He admitted this was the first time he truly believed he could take home the gold: “I valued how well I was doing in life by how well I was doing at diving.
He explained: “Over the years I always thought I could but it’s going to be really tough, and I went in this year and thought we’ve done so well in the World Cup, the European Championships.
Tom also opened up about how his father would’ve reacted to him coming out and being in a same-sex relationship: “My dad would’ve been happy that I was happy.”
He expressed: “I think the thing that he would’ve been most upset about – if he was upset – was that I couldn’t share it with him from the very first moment that I ever thought about it because me and my dad are very open about it and good friends.”
When the presenters asked why he didn’t come out before his father’s death, Tom said: “At the time I was growing up in the public eye, I couldn’t really explore my sexuality in a way that most people do.
“Usually you can figure out who you are, but every kind of move that I’ve made has been in the public eye and then there was a worry if something was to say something, so I never really acted on anything,” he concluded.
This Morning airs weekdays from 10am on ITV and ITV Hub.
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