Sunday, 8 December 2013

Tom Daley: Sunday Worship

The sharks had been circling for some time but instead of swimming as fast as he could to get away, Tom Daley chose to climb onto a high moral platform, dive into perilous waters and scatter them.

Daley’s video “selfie”, posted on YouTube last Monday in which — dressed in a grey sweatshirt and propped up against Union Jack cushions — he revealed that he was dating a man and told fans that “I wanted you to hear this from me”, was a masterly piece of PR.

Gay men who had hidden their secret until much later in life praised the 19-year-old Daley for his bravery. Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga tweeted their support. Stephen Fry added: “I opened the second door on my Advent calendar and Tom Daley came out. Seriously @TomDaley1994 congratulations.”

What was, to say the least, a gamble by a sportsman who has a devoted following of teenage girls, a shrewd eye for publicity and a clutch of potentially twitchy commercial sponsors has so far seemed to pay off...

Fagburn both hoped and feared that the Sunday papers were going to be packed full of Tom Daley today.
The broadsheets doing their lengthy ruminative analyses and profiles.
And I was worried one of the tabloids would splash with a big SCANDAL!
But it seems there is no "dirt" on our Tom, no ex-lovers to bonk-and-tell, and Fagburn gets the impression the wildest thing he's probably ever done was suck on a wine gum
Only the Sunday Mirror dug up some Daley-related dirt.
And it was some very old dirt; Dustin Lance Black once had a sex tape leaked online and he is 'furious'!
The video was made seven years ago and was leaked by Perez Hilton et al in 2009.
And the Mail did something about it last week.
Mirror Online today ran the now perhaps notorious photo of Dustin and Tom in a hot tub.
Note the cute caption in their cropped version below - and note, like just about all media, the Mail's now taking it as a given that the two actually are an item. 
Apparently Sophie Lee - Tom's best gal pal, who he said on Jonathan Ross was the first person he came out to - posted it on her Instagram page, but later deleted it (dates of both unknown).

[Mail Online, who are not averse to running six stories a day of tittle-tattle connected to the latest hot celeb story had nothing, but eventually found some photos of Tom arriving at Houston Airport Thursday!]
The Sun Sunday ran with a precis of Tom's wonderful "Wossy" interview, and its new star columnist, the blokey bloke Tony Parsons, reminded readers how so-brave young Mr Daley is; "Tom Daley shows the way. Be proud of who you are. Be unapologetic. Be open. And, yes, be brave.
"And the haters will all have no choice but to shut their worthless little cakeholes."
Beautifully put, Tone, mate.
Surprisingly The Sunday Times was the only broadsheet to publish a profile of the boy wonder, Top marks for full twist, somersault, and outing.
Endless diving metaphors, so brave, rumours, tabloids circling, sports closet, sponsorship deals, sign of the times, kids today, Tom's dad, social media savvy, great support, inspiration, Dustin, super smashing great etc.
They also had out gay rugby referee, Nigel Owens, talking about Tom and ye olde sports closet - a subject The Observer also found fascinating.
As did footie legend, Stan Collymore, who in his Sunday People column gushed; Let Tom Daley be an inspiration - it's time for a gay footballer to step out of the shadows for the first time.
I look forward to not reading any of these.
Best of all - though the competition was pretty flaccid - was Independent On Sunday columnist, Dom Joly, who fondly remembered appearing with our Tom in the first series of Splash!

His video, released last week, in which he came out was equally brave [as a 10-metre dive]. I don't think that it came as much of a surprise to anyone, I certainly got a strong feeling when I met him that there was probably not going to be a Mrs Daley.

This was ironic because even when we were practising in the dive pool in Plymouth there would be a posse of excited young girls watching his every move and using cameras with staggeringly powerful zooms to capture him in budgie smugglers. On the night of the actual competition the place was packed to the rafters like a One Direction concert.

As we competitors were introduced one by one there was polite applause and the occasional "who?" Then Tom Daley was introduced and I nearly lost both eardrums. He appeared on the top board, lit by a single spotlight with his arms outstretched like Christ. The screams rose to a crescendo before Tom lifted off, did some impressive spins and cleaved the water below.

Top marks.

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