Tom Daley said he was finding it hard to believe he was an Olympic champion at last after securing a gold medal with Matty Lee in his fourth Games.
The nerveless British diving duo finished with 471.81 points having never dropped out of the top two and took the synchronised 10-metre platform title 1.23 points ahead of China, with the Russian Olympic Committee third.
“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. You want to win an Olympic gold medal but never think you actually will.
“I will carry on but I will definitely take a break,” the 27-year-old said. “There are some beverages with my name on it to celebrate with my husband and family. This means an incredible amount. All athletes put in such hard work and dedication into our performances. To be an Olympic champion after four attempts at it feels extremely special.”
Daley’s diving partner, Lee, said it made his sacrifices worthwhile: “In 2018 I moved my whole life to London from Leeds, I had nothing really in London. Our aim was to get an Olympic medal and for it to go the way we wanted it to is awesome. I owe a lot to Tom because he has taught me a lot.”
Daley said this was the first Games he had come into believing they were the ones to beat. “I mean to finally have this gold medal around my neck after so many [Games] – I mean I’ve been diving now for 20 years and this is my fourth Olympic Games and lots of people probably would have counted me out of this Olympics being the older person but I’m in the best shape physically and mentally.
“With the support of Matty coming into this competition and the way that we’ve been preparing, I think we’ve just had that unstoppable mentality this year and this is the first year that I’ve ever been able to think like that – that we are the ones to beat.
“I still honestly can’t believe what’s happening and I honestly didn’t think I would get there in the first place, but here we are.”
‘I was blubbering’: Daley overwhelmed after winning Olympic gold with Lee