Tom Daley on Lauren Laverne's first Desert Island Discs: 'There are bigger things than Olympic gold medals'

Anita Singh
Tom Daley has been interviewed by Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the first to be hosted by Lauren Laverne  - BBC

Tom Daley has said that winning an Olympic gold medal is no longer his top priority now that he has become a father.

Daley and his husband, Dustin Lance Black, became parents in June to a son named Robbie Ray, who was born via a surrogate.

Asked about his hopes for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, the diver said: “Now my whole perspective on Tokyo has changed. If you had asked me last year, it was all, ‘Oh, I need to win a gold medal, it’s the most important thing.’

“And you know what? There are bigger things than Olympic gold medals. My Olympic gold medal is Robbie.”

Daley was speaking during an edition of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the first to be hosted by Lauren Laverne after long-time host Kirsty Young withdrew from the show due to illness.

In an emotional programme, Daley, 24, discussed the death of his beloved father, Robert, who had supported him throughout his career.

Recalling his father’s final moments, Daley said: “One of the last things he said to me was, ‘Do we have our tickets yet?’ I said, ‘Tickets for what?’He said, ‘London 2012 tickets, because I want to be right on the front row.’ “I didn’t know how to say to him, ‘You’re not going to be around to be in the front row, Dad.’”

Daley’s father died the following day, aged 40.

The two-time world champion said he had not considered the 20-year age gap in his relationship with Lance Black, an Oscar-winning screenwriter, until others mentioned it.

“When you go through so much at such a young age, it’s hard to find another 18- or 19-year-old that has achieved the highs, experienced the lows, travelled and all those things. That’s why Lance and I really connected,” he said.

Daley also discussed being bullied at school after competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and how his feelings about his sexuality had spurred him on to success.

“To this day, these feelings of being ‘less than’ and feeling different have been the real things that have given me the power and strength to succeed in the other things that I’ve done because you want to prove that you’re not ‘less than’,” he said.