About 3 years ago I had the privilege and pleasure of photographing Tom whilst with the GB Diving Team in Rome at their warm weather training. During that time I chatted all too briefly to Tom over the two days I was there. I spent the time with the whole team and the coaches that were training for the Worlds and ultimately, the upcoming 2012 Olympics.
Although Tom had no idea who I was, he took time out to chat to me, to welcome me and to ensure I got the pictures that I needed and wanted. At no time did anyone in the team make me feel anything other than part of their happy, fun and very hardworking environment. Tom was a perfect gentleman to his fellow team-mates, to the coaches and to the onlookers that probably invade his whole life. He even did a BBC Radio 5 Live interview on the mini-bus to the Hotel we were staying at. He was incredible, one minute a joker and the next the consummate professional at 17 years old, talking like he had been in the media all of his life. I guess in a way, he has.
What he has done today is sad and a terrible reflection on our society. Still we live with these crazy, petty prejudices that force even the likes of Tom, one so young, to ‘come out’ as gay, and have to bare his soul. It is none of our business. We shouldn’t care what he or anyone else does in their private lives. So he has a boyfriend. Good for him, I really and truly hope that he is happy with his lover. I for one will continue to love him for his dedication, commitment and flawless character in the face of extreme pressure. I am just so disappointed it matters and he felt the need to have to do it.
I am sorry Tom that we have made you record that video. However, as always, you have done yourself enormous credit. Fantastic you have found happiness, fantastic that you are in love and well done you for doing it with such grace and class.
And for no other reason than he is so beautiful here are a few of the pics I took whilst in Rome with the team.