11/08/2016 10:17 BST | Updated 12/08/2017 06:12 BST

Chris Mears' and Jack Laugher's Olympic Hug Wasn't 'Unmanly', It Showed How Far Men Have Come


When I sat perched on the edge of my sofa on Wednesday night watching and willing Team GB divers Chris Mears and Jack Laugher to victory in the Men's Synchronized 3m Springboard diving event, emotions were running high.

So high, in fact, that when they did eventually win Gold (the first ever for a British diving team), I was reduced to a blubbering wreck.

Now, I'm not a crier. Not that there's anything wrong with turning on the water works, I just don't very often (unless I'm watching Long Lost Family, but that's another story).

But it felt bloody good to be crying happy tears after months of uncertainty and general doom and gloom across the world.

Did I feel less of a man for doing so? Of course I didn't. It felt fantastic to be caught up in such a joyous moment.

Did Chris Mears and Jack Laugher think they were less masculine for jumping on each other and hugging it out when they had confirmation that they'd won the big one?

I don't know them personally, but I'd bet everything I own on the fact that they didn't either in that moment or afterwards.

The Daily Mail, on the other hand, questioned the Olympian's masculinity under the headline 'Steady On Chaps', which they contrasted with the Chinese bronze medalist's 'manly pat on the back'.


'Manly'? Really? Perhaps it was simply down to the fact that they were disappointed with their third place (they were early favourites).

Maybe they aren't as close as Chris and Jack, who literally live in each other's pockets, training for hours on end in the pool before heading back to the flat they share.

And when was the last time the Mail called into question a footballer's masculinity the last time they hugged a team mate or cried on the pitch?

Whatever the reason, since when has two men expressing their emotions by giving each other a hug, or shedding a few tears not been masculine?

Probably about 1935, and I think we've moved on since then.

I hug my 72-year-old father every time I see him. So do my brothers - even when we haven't won a medal. Imagine! And it's very much reciprocated.

But try telling the Mail that.

Unsurprisingly, there's thinly-veiled homophobia here too. No surprise to see that coming from the the only British newspaper not to feature the Orlando shootings on their front page back in June.

The very same rag that DID splash the High Court's recent ruling about the NHS providing the HIV prevention drug PrEP for free, referring to it as a 'lifestyle drug' under the headline 'What A Skewed Sense Of Values'.

So let's move on from this outdated, ridiculous (and yes, homophobic) notion that a man-on-man hug, or crying happy or sad tears, is somehow emasculating, or should call into question someone's sexuality.

As Chris Mears and Jack Laugher showed in that beautiful, instantaneous moment, there's nothing quite as masculine as really knowing yourself, being truly comfortable in your own skin and not giving a stuff about what anyone else might think.

Congratulations to them both.