British diver Tom Daley took home an additional medal at the Tokyo Olympics over the weekend. His win comes as he and other LGBTQ+ Olympic athletes have been targeted by social media trolls and even by Russian state TV.
The 27-year-old diver took the bronze medal in the 10m platform dive. Daley won gold earlier in the Games in the synchronized diving competition.
He is the first British diver to win four Olympic medals, according to The Guardian.
When asked about social media abuse toward LGBTQ+ Olympic athletes, Daley spoke about the support of his husband (Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black) and son that strengthens him.
“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,” he said.
Daley added that he recognizes his experience is not the same for many people around the world.
“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.
“History shows everything that society is has been dictated from the straight, white, male experience. And there are so many different perspectives and points of view, whether that’s race, whether that’s religion, whether that’s gender, whether that’s sexual orientation, whatever it is. There are so many different points of view and if we can come together and use all those different points of view, then the world would be a better place.”
Daley and other athletes have been targeted throughout the games by Russian state TV. On two popular channels, several shows referred to the inclusion of LGBTQ+ Olympic participants as an “abomination” and “perversion,” according to the BBC.
On one show, a member of the Russian parliament, Alexei Zhuravlyov, said that gay and trans people “disgusted” him.
“We stand opposed to all this smut and perversion, strongly opposed,” the BBC reported Zhuravlyov said while pointing at a studio screen that showed New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who was one of the first trans athletes to compete openly in the Olympics.
“We stand against this abomination,” Zhuravlyov yelled. He also said an offensive Russian word used against gay men during the show.
In a statement to the BBC, the International Olympic Committee said it was concerned about the attacks on the athletes and would contact the Russian Olympics broadcaster.
“We welcome that Tokyo 2020 has embedded diversity and inclusion in the Olympic Games model,” the organization said. “Discrimination has absolutely no place at the Olympic Games.”