Tom Daley comes out of ‘retirement’ to target Paris 2024

Tom Daley

Daley memorably won gold in the men’s synchronised 10 metre platform at the delayed 2020 Tokyo games – PA/Adam Davy

Olympic champion Tom Daley has said he will come out of virtual retirement and return to the pool to target a spot at Paris 2024.

Daley, 29, won Olympic gold alongside Matty Lee in the men’s synchronised 10 metre platform at the Tokyo Games, his fourth Olympics after his debut as a teenager at Beijing 2008.

The three-time world champion has taken two years out since then, saying he had “in theory retired”, but in a new YouTube video he said a recent trip to Colorado Springs in the United States had reignited his competitive spirit with a year to go until Paris.

Daley and his husband Dustin Lance Black travelled to Colorado for the birth of their second son, with Daley saying he had not realised its status as an Olympic city until they arrived. He then took eldest son Robbie to the museum there and felt inspired to attempt a return.

“Robbie said to me, ‘Papa, I want to see you dive in the Olympics’,” Daley said. “It has lit a new flame in me to see where this goes, I don’t know where this is going to go.

“I don’t know if this is going to be a completely silly idea of me getting back in the pool or an opportunity for me to do this recreationally and have a bit of fun without any pressure, or if my body is going to be able to get back on a diving board and dive half-decently.

“I don’t know what that’s going to look like. Paris 2024 is definitely a goal. I don’t know if it’s going to be possible but you never say never.”

Daley made his Olympic debut at the age of 14 at Beijing 2008 and went on to claim bronze medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016. His crowning moment came in 2021 though when together with Lee he took gold in the 10m synchro as well as individual bronze at the delayed Games in Tokyo.

Daley poses with cyclist Rebecca Romero (left) and swimmer Rebecca Adlington at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing

Daley (middle) has competed in every Olympics since Beijing 2008 – Julian Andrews/Julian Andrews

“We had the best time at the Olympic and Paralympic Museum playing different games and at the end we went into a room to watch a video about what it means to be an athlete and see those inspirational journeys,” Daley added.

“I just wept; I couldn’t control myself, I hadn’t grieved diving. I hadn’t been doing it anymore and that I in theory had retired and couldn’t imagine going back to doing it again.

“Coming out of that museum something changed in me and that has lit a new flame and fire inside me to see where this goes.”

Daley may have to find a new diving partner, with Lee joining forces with Noah Williams to claim silver at the world championships last year, although they could only manage fourth in Japan this time around. The British diving team claimed an impressive haul of three medals at the recent 2023 World Championships, but it was noticeable that none of those came in either of Daley’s favoured events.

Daley would be expected to target the World Championships selection event at the end of the year in an effort to qualify for next February’s event in Doha, before turning his attentions towards Paris 2024 in July.

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