Tom Daley battled COVID months before winning Olympic gold

Tom Daley battled COVID
Image: Tom Daley Instagram

Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley battled COVID a few months before winning Olympic gold in Tokyo. Paramedics rushed the diver to hospital when he began to struggle to breathe.

The British gold medalist spoke of his illness for the first time in an interview with The Times. He told the newspaper he needed months to recover before he could properly resume training. He also said he suffers longer-term consequences of the virus with his cardiovascular fitness reduced by five per cent.

“I would consider myself to be quite a healthy person, but Covid doesn’t discriminate at all.”

Tom Daley contracted Covid-19 in January.

“Every time I stood up, I felt the room spinning and a blinding white light, as if I was going to faint, and as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my body.”

“I honestly felt like I might die.”

Tom said he told his husband Lance what he wanted done if he stopped breathing. The pair share a three-year-old son. When Lance also began to feel sick, Tom became increasingly concerned.

“I started to feel better for a few days, but then my cough got worse again.”

Later, the diver felt like his head had a vice tightening around it. His oxygen levels also began to drop. He said his lungs felt pressurised as if surrounded by sacks of rice.

Taken to hospital by ambulance, he underwent blood tests and x-rays. Doctors boosted his oxygen levels before sending him home. Tom said he had an anxious time in hospital.

“I understood how quickly things could potentially go downhill. I had flashes of fear about whether I would be put on a ventilator, and my time being up.”

Months after Tom Daley battled COVID, he went on to win gold and bronze medals at the Tokyo Games.

This week, the world’s most famous exponent of crochet posted his latest work to Instagram.


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A post shared by Tom Daley (@tomdaley)

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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