Tom Daley has spoken out about the importance of being an out LGBT athlete as the International Olympic Committee investigates homophobic comments made about him on Russian state TV.
The 27-year-old, who won bronze in the 10m platform diving on Saturday to add to his gold in the synchronised event, is one of several LGBT athletes competing at Tokyo 2020.
The participation of openly gay, lesbian and transgender athletes at the Tokyo Olympics has led to an upsurge in anti-LGBT commentary on Russian state TV, with homophobic language being used by the hosts and guests on talk shows aired by the country's two most popular television channels.
Daley breaks out his knitting needles as he watches women's three-metre springboard
Tom Daley celebrates his bronze
Image credit: Getty Images
When asked about the remarks, Daley 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.
Daley, who made his Olympic debut at Beijing 2008 before winning back-to-back bronzes in London and Rio, went onto talk about how he feels fortunate to be representing Great Britain and not a country where people in the LGBT community face criminalisation.
He said: “There’s still a lot further to go, there are 10 countries competing at these Olympic Games where being LGBT is punishable by death.
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 worry about any ramifications.
“But I know that I’m very fortunate to have that and that there are lots of people who grow up around the world with less fortunate situations.
“I just hope that seeing out sportspeople in all these different sports is going to help people feel less alone, feel like they are valued and can achieve something.”
In response to the BBC, who first reported the abuse, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman told the BBC they were contacting the official Russian broadcaster, one of the two channels in question, to express their concern.
In a statement they said: "Discrimination has absolutely no place at the Olympic Games."
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