The British diver and his competition partner Matty Lee triumphed in the men’s synchronised 10-metre diving event at the Tokyo games on Monday.
After four Olympics and two previous bronze medals, it marked 27-year-old Tom’s first gold at the games.
Speaking during a press conference after his and Matty’s win, Tom said he felt empowered to say he was a gay man who is now an Olympic champion.
Addressing the fact the 2020 event features more openly LGBTQ+ athletes than any other previous games, Tom said: “I came out in December 2013 and when I was younger, I always felt like the one who was alone and different and didn’t fit in and there was something about me that was never going to be as good as society wanted me to be.
“I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone and that you can achieve anything. There is a whole lot of your chosen family out here ready to support you.”
He continued: “I am incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion. I feel very empowered by that.
“When I was younger, I thought I was never going to be anything or achieve anything because of who I was and to be an Olympic champion now shows that you can achieve anything.”
Tom’s words were hailed as inspirational and powerful as people shared his comments on social media...
Tom – who made his Olympic debut as a 14-year-old in Beijing before finishing third in the 10m platform in London and synchronised 10m platform in Rio – also spoke of his pride at his son Robbie being able to watch his win.
“It’s kind of unbelievable. I dreamt, as has Matty, since I started diving 20 years ago for this moment,” Tom said.
“I thought I was going to win an Olympic gold in Rio and that turned out the complete opposite by a long shot.
“My husband [Dustin Lance Black] said to me my story wasn’t finished and my son needed to be there to watch me win an Olympic gold medal.
“I can say my son watched me become an Olympic champion, albeit on TV as they couldn’t be here. It’s such a great feeling.”