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British Olympian Daley comes out of closet

Last updated 09:17 03/12/2013
Tom Daley

Olympic diver Tom Daley says he is in a relationship with a man.

Tom Daley
Getty Images
COMING OUT: Olympic diver Tom Daley says he is in a relationship with a man.

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High profile British Olympic diver Tom Daley has been hailed a role model after his emotional announcement that he is in a relationship with a man.

In a video released for his fans on YouTube, the 19-year-old British Olympian and TV star says: "Come spring this year, my life changed massively when I met someone and it made me feel so happy, so safe ... That someone is a guy."

In the five-minute video clip, which he published Monday, Daly said he wanted "to put an end to all the rumours and speculation, and just say it, tell you guys," adding "is it a big deal? I don't think so".

Daley won the 10-metre platform gold at the 2009 world championships when he was 15. He took bronze in the same event at last year's London Olympics.

The Guardian said Daley was "arguably the most high-profile British sportsman to come out as bixexual or gay, and is also unusual in doing so in the early stages of his career".

The UK-based equality organisation Stonewall tweeted: "Moving and inspiring video from @TomDaley1994. A role model for thousands of other young people."

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said the announcement was an "elegant, dignified, thoughtful explanation of what's going on in the life of a gay teenager", The Guardian reported.

He told The Guardian it was a "hugely powerful" and "transformative" message.

It also comes in the wake of a large debate about how gay athletes may be treated at next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Under Russia's tough anti-gay propaganda law, anyone promoting "non-traditional sexual relations" to minors face fines of up $200, while businesses and schools could be fined $20,000.

Many lobby groups and activists have questioned whether Russia should have been allowed to host the games and called for boycotts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has since promised all athletes will be treated equally.

Gay Kiwi speed skater Blake Skjellerup has said the law would not impact on his attendance at the Games.

''I have full trust in the International Olympic Committee that they will guarantee my safety.''

Though determined to make the Games, he has remained highly critical of the Russian measures, signed into law under Putin's increasingly conservative parliament.

''They're draconian, and very backwards to what the rest of the world is doing.''

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- AP

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