Daley and Lee achieve their Olympic gold dream

26 Jul 2021

Tom Daley and Matty Lee bring home TeamGB’s second gold of the Games with a superlative series of dives at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre 

Tom Daley and Matty Lee produced the combined performance of their diving lives to seal a stunning victory in the Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform and claim Olympic gold at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Returning to the scene of their triumph in the Diving World Cup earlier in the year, the British duo put together a superlative series of dives to defeat 2019 World champions Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by a dramatic 1.3 points to spark scenes of emotion and jubilation among the Team GB diving team.

For four-time Olympian Daley, this was the pinnacle on the ultimate sporting stage, 13 years on from his debut at the level in Beijing 2008, while Dive London teammate Lee could not have enjoyed a more memorable way to make his Olympic debut.

The pair – who train under coach Jane Figueiredo, the first to embrace them when the results were confirmed – sat third at the halfway stage after a promising start, before nailing their Back 3 ½ Somersaults Pike (207B) in round four to receive 93.96 points and moving to the top of the standings.

Tom Daley and Matty Lee Tokyo 2020 [Getty] 2
Tom Daley and Matty Lee

A brilliant Reverse 3 ½ Somersaults Tuck (307C) kept them in front with one round of dives to go, but in the knowledge that their hardest degree of difficulty dive remained – and with the Chinese pair waiting to capitalise on any slip up.

Instead, Daley and Lee showed indefinable levels of composure with their Forward 4 ½ Somersaults Tuck (109C) to stay in perfect synchronicity, ripping into the water and then watching the judges hand out a mammoth tally of 101.01 points. Despite a fine final effort from Yuan and Aisen, the British pair – watched on by their buoyant teammates – had done enough to secure a historic gold with 471.81 points.

Clearly delighted with their achievement, Daley said afterwards:

“What a feeling to finally have this gold medal round my neck after so many years, I’ve been diving now for twenty years and this is my fourth Olympic Games. With the support of Matty coming into this competition and the way we’ve been preparing, we’ve kind of had that unstoppable mentality this year and that’s the first time I’ve ever been able to think like that, that we are the ones to beat, I still honestly can’t believe what’s happening.

"All day today it’s felt like everything’s fallen into place, we found that sense of flow where we didn’t need to say all that much to each other, we just knew what we had to do to get the job done. Then just now, standing behind the rostrum about to be announced as Olympic Champions, and then to hear the national anthem play, I was gone I couldn’t even sing, I was blubbering."

Lee added: 

"To be able to share my first Olympics with Tom, get a gold medal and be part of this moment is special and I can’t believe it.

"Absolutely when I was younger I was a fan of Tom’s, I watched him dive and wanted to be like him basically. There’s a photo of me and Tom that’s quite funny from the first time I met him in 2008 - I’m tiny and obviously Tom’s tiny, but much bigger than me. It’s my first memory of him, and now to have competed and won gold at the Olympics with him is pretty crazy.”

The result means Daley – a bronze medallist in the 10m Platform at London 2012 and with Dan Goodfellow in the Rio 2016 10m Synchro – is the first British diver to win three Olympic medals, with opportunity for more glory yet when he contests the individual event later in the meet.

With Adam Peaty having claimed Team GB’s first gold of Tokyo 2020 by retaining his Men’s 100m Breaststroke crown in the Aquatics Centre earlier on Monday morning, Britain’s aquatics athletes have enjoyed a quite stunning few hours at the Games.

The next British pair to take to Tokyo’s diving boards will be Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson, competing in the Women’s 10m Synchronised Platform at 7am BST, Tuesday.