Tom Daley was a diving prodigy. The four-time Olympic medalist was the youngest person to win a medal at the European Championships and qualified for the Beijing 2008 Olympics later that year.
But as Daley’s athletic career was taking off at 14 years old, he was also being tormented at school. Bullies taunted him with barbs such as “Diver Boy” and “Speedo Boy” and often tackled him to the ground.
They knew Daley’s legs were valuable and threatened to break them.Like many LGBTQ kids, Daley found solace in an activity away from his daily hell: diving. “I think for a lot of queer people growing up, you always feel like you have to overachieve and do something to distract from the fact that you know that you’re different,” Daley told Queerty. “I love diving, and it was my way of just being able to put all of my —you know, not frustration — but in a way, yeah, my frustration and my worries and anxieties into diving.”In his new memoir, Coming Up for Air, Daley delves into the undersides of fame and athletic greatness.
He writes openly about his mental health issues, body image, and British Swimming’s austere culture and seeming disregard for the well-being of their athletes.