British diving star Tom Daley has revealed he is in a relationship with a man, following years of media speculation over his sexuality.
The Olympic medallist chose to reveal his current relationship status via his personal YouTube channel in a video in which he explained his feelings.
Per BBC News, he said the following:
In spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone, and they make me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great. That someone is a guy. It did take me by surprise a little bit. It was always in the back of my head that something like that could happen. But it wasn't until spring this year that something just clicked. It felt right and I thought 'Okay'. And my whole world changed there and then. Of course I still fancy girls but right now I'm dating a guy and I couldn't be happier.
Daley—who had previously been quoted as saying he was not gay, per the Mirror's Olivia Buxton—told fans he has now informed his friends and family, who have been supportive of his decision to come out.
He also went on to express his wish that the news would not affect his fans' support as he looks to dive for Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The news is set to make headlines for some time, with Daley a major sporting figure in the United Kingdom.
Not only has he won many supporters for his diving exploits from an early age, but he is also regularly seen on UK television, including in a hosting role on celebrity diving show Splash!
As well, earlier in 2013 he was voted the world's sexiest man by Attitude magazine, per the Daily Star's Tom Rawle. The award is an indication of his popularity within the gay community.
The topic of athletes expressing their homosexuality has been a major talking point in recent years, with many top sports yet to have a high-profile athlete come out during his or her active career.
However, there is a feeling that times are beginning to change, with rugby star Gareth Thomas and U.S. soccer player Robbie Rogers among those to have revealed their sexual orientations in recent times.
Hats off to @TomDaley1994 for honesty. He's had to grow up in spotlight, can't be easy. If only more athletes could feel so unencumbered— Ashling O'Connor (@ashlingoc) December 2, 2013
Daley has been bold in confirming the relationship himself instead of letting the story emerge in the press. The hope must be that he will find any weight lifted from his shoulders once the initial story blows over.
In truth, there should be no need for him to declare his sexuality, much as a heterosexual individual would find no need to clarify his or her position. However, Daley knows the world's understanding has not yet developed to that level.
It is a far from easy decision to make, given the intense scrutiny he often finds himself under as a national sporting hero, and he will now hopefully find much support from the public who have idolised him thus far in his career.