Becoming a father himself, Daley says, changed his perspective on what matters: “You stop worrying about the little things because your plate is very full. It also made me want to leave a better world, whether it’s the environment, human rights or just the attitude we have towards each other.
Reflecting on his father, he said, “I’d like to think he’d be proud of what I’ve done.” Would he wear a sweater designed by Daley? “I don’t think so,” he laughs. “He was just wearing a red shirt.”
Robert has never seen his son win a medal of any color. At London 2012, the year after his father’s death, Daley won bronze in the individual discipline. Four years later, a bronze medal in synchro with Dan Goodfellow at Rio 2016. “It’s the only thing that makes me sad,” he said. “It’s something I really wish he could see.”
Daley is undecided at the moment as to whether he will look to add to his medal collection in Paris in 2024. He has not trained since the Tokyo Games, taking a well-deserved break from winning the ‘gold, but plan to come back in a few weeks and see how it feels in the pool.
Going from training six hours a day, six days a week for 21 years to living life without formal structure was a shock to his system. If he now trains “only” an hour a day, it looks like an unjustified rest.
Recently, Daley opened up about the pressure he felt to maintain his weight when he was younger and how comments from trainers triggered bulimia. He believes that in some ways it was just a byproduct of being an athlete who treats his body like a machine. “In a sport like diving, the lighter you are, still with more strength, the higher you are able to jump. It makes a difference.