Tom Daley appreciates the “great and welcome distraction” of knitting as he kept his bid to become a two-time Olympic champion alive by qualifying for the semi-finals of the men’s 10-meter individual platform.
Daley was pictured with his needles and threads multiple times during Tokyo 2020 as he watched teammates where he had already won a gold medal after winning the synchronized event alongside Matty Lee.
It was him again between his own dives on Friday afternoon where he overcame a humble start in the heats and finished fourth out of 29 competitors with a high score of 94.5 and a grand total of 453.7.
Daley believes his hobby, which he began shortly before the UK’s first lockdown in March last year, was a comforting way to distract himself from the games, especially since he last competed on July 26th.
“Honestly, I think it made a huge difference,” he said. “There is a long wait between the synchro and the individual, and there is plenty of time to think. My time to think has been replaced by knitting.
“It was a great and welcome distraction for me. I am someone who is really bad at rest. I sit there, I fidget, I bite my nails whatever it is, so being able to knit was really helpful.
“I knitted between the rounds just because you can get out a little, because if you keep thinking about diving, that you are up here all the time, it can be quite exhausting.
“People do different things during competition. I’ve seen people use coloring books, play games on their cell phones, or listen to music, or lie down. There is something different for everyone to escape and I am grateful and happy that I feel like I have found something that I enjoy. “
The 27-year-old’s Instagram account, madewithlovebytomdaley, is devoted to knitting and crocheting and has 1.1 million followers, where he recently revealed the fruits of his labor: a Team GB cardigan.
After that was done, Daley announced that his latest project was to knit a dog sweater for a friend, but he was distracted on Friday by a game officer who asked him to design a piece of clothing for a stuffed animal.
“They had this little toy and they said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cute to have a little scarf for it?’ So I literally knitted the toy into a scarf, ”said Daley, who added that he taught himself to knit by watching YouTube tutorials.
“I didn’t have to count the stitches or do anything, it’s just so simple that it was literally almost mindlessly boring. But I love to knit, so I don’t find it boring. Row after row after row without having to count, I wanted to be able to do that, the room I wanted to go to. “
Daley sat outside the top 18 qualifying spots after going over the top on his first dive, a score of 56.1 from his three and a half somersaults with tuck, which were only good enough for 23rd place at the Tokyo Aquatics Center.
He gradually improved and advanced with solid, if unspectacular jumps to 18th and then 12th to half-time, before an armstand-back three somersaults with pike his best score of 94.5 and a place among the first brought in six.
He finished strong on his last two dives, but his UK teammate Noah Williams missed making it to Daley in the next leg – the semifinals and finals both take place on Saturday – after finishing 27th.
Williams, who was attending his first ever games, announced that his fourth dive was about to hit one of the boards.
“That shook me a little bit because it’s never fun to almost hit the board,” he said.