Tokyo Olympics: Tom Daley and Matty Lee win gold in men’s synchronised 10m platform

Tom Daley and Matty Lee claim gold in men’s synchronised 10m platform
Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and Sounds; live text and video clips on BBC Sport website and app.

Tom Daley ended his long wait for an Olympic gold medal with a sublime display alongside Matty Lee in a nerve-filled men’s synchronised 10m platform event at Tokyo 2020.

In a nail-biting finale, the British pair watched on as Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen conducted their final dive and broke into wild celebrations when it became clear they had ended China’s golden grip on the event, dating back to 2000.

For Daley – now 27 – it marks a first gold medal at his fourth Olympic Games and he wept with joy on the podium, while Lee – four years his junior – can contemplate gold at the first time of asking.

“I still can’t honestly believe what is happening,” Daley told BBC Sport. “That moment, being about to be announced as Olympic champions, I was gone. I was blubbering.”

The pair dived impeccably throughout, moving top of the leaderboard after four dives, before going on to expertly handle nerves and pressure in their final two routines.

The British duo’s total score of 471.81 left China’s Cao and Chen with too much to do and when their tally of 470.58 appeared on the giant screen, Daley, Lee, their coaches and a score of team-mates could not hide their emotions.

Tokyo Olympics: Tom Daley and Matty Lee take diving gold – highlights

A golden journey

Former Olympic silver medallist Leon Taylor told BBC viewers he was fighting back tears watching “pictures that speak a thousand words”.

On a morning where Britain’s Adam Peaty and Tom Pidcock won golds in swimming and mountain bike cross country respectively, BBC presenter Sam Quek spoke of feeling “goose bumps” as she watched Daley cry while the national anthem played.

Lee – who moved to London to train with Daley in 2018 – deserves immense praise for his handling of the pressure-filled situation but a huge focus will now turn to his partner, who has become a household name across Britain ever since his debut at the 2008 Games, aged 14.

His journey has been one filled with emotion, with an outpouring of sympathy on show following the death of his father in 2011.

Daley would explain he hoped to one day be “half the dad my dad was to me” and his Olympic gold arrived in his first Games since become a father to son Robbie – who is named after his dad – in 2018.

Daley, who married husband Dustin Lance Black in 2017, has said becoming a father offered him “a different headspace” going into the Tokyo Games.

And so it proved as he upgraded bronze medals in the individual and synchronised 10m events in 2012 and 2016 respectively for a landmark gold.

“To finally have this around my neck, I’ve been diving over 20 years,” added Daley.

“Lots of people would have counted me out but I’m in the best shape and with the support with Matty, we’ve had that unstoppable mentality this year and that’s the first time I’ve ever been able to think like that.

“I can’t believe what is happening and I didn’t think I would get here in the first place.”

Tokyo Olympics: Watch Tom Daley and Matty Lee’s emotional interview after winning gold

The Daley wait is over

Daley’s win is all the more poignant as his future in the sport is uncertain beyond his position in the men’s field for the 10m individual event later in the Games.

After 13 years at the elite Olympic level and with a gold medal now in his possession, there is little more he can achieve given he has already won European, World and Commonwealth golds.

His experience appeared to shine through at key times during his golden Olympic moment but he later explained he felt he was “going to crumble” at points and he thanked Lee for “holding things together.”

Lee replied: “It’s crazy. I don’t understand what happened. To be able to share my first Olympics with Tom and get a gold, it’s special.”

Tom Daley cries on the podium

An error by the Chinese pair in their fourth dive opened the door for Daley and Lee, whose score of 93.96 for a back three-and-a-half somersaults at the same stage moved them to top spot.

A mark of 89.76 for a reverse three-and-a-half somersaults kept them ahead after round five but a flawless tilt at their toughest routine – a forward four-and-a-half somersault – was judged at 101.01 for their final dive.

With the Russian Olympic Committee team in bronze-medal position, the quality of the final Chinese effort prompted a minor pause for breath before the Daley-Lee celebrations could breakout.

Daley, once a point of curiosity for a watching British audience given his tender teenage years, has remained dedicated and persistent while handling scrutiny away from competition.

He has spent half his life focused on Olympic cycles while carrying a weight of expectation.

With Lee’s steadfast help, at last he has his gold medal.

Sourced from BBC Sports

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