From Olympic champion to “best crochet influencer on the earth”

As if finally winning gold at his fourth Olympics wasn’t enough, British diver Tom Daley has fueled a huge surge in knitting, with his latest creations serving a good cause.

Daley was spotted using crochet hooks during the Tokyo Games, both by the pool and in the stands, watching other events. He even knitted a tiny sleeve for his gold medal won with partner Matty Lee in the men’s 10-meter synchronized jump.

“One thing that kept me sane throughout the process is my love of knitting and crocheting and everything to do with sewing,” he said in an Instagram video showing the cunning coziness.

The Olympian is also using his knitting skills to raise awareness – and much-needed funding – for the UK-based Brain Tumor Charity in memory of his father Robert, who died of brain cancer in 2011, a year before Daley’s Olympic debut at the London Games .

On Thursday, Daley posted an Olympic Cardigan Reveal video on Instagram stating, “I’ve finished the sweater!” Then he models the white sweater with “Tokyo” written in Japanese Kanji on the front, “Team GB” and the Olympic rings on the back, and a British flag and “GBR” on the left and right shoulders.

“When I arrived in Tokyo, I wanted to do something that will remind me of the Olympics in the future,” shared Daley, 27, on Instagram. “I designed a pattern for the color work that would express everything about these games.”

His father had been Daley’s inspiration and biggest fan, often accompanying him to trainings, competitions and press conferences. After winning the gold medal, Daley said he knew his father “would have been very proud of how I became Olympic champion,” reported Agence France-Presse. “It has always been our dream to grow up.”

Daley is giving away Tokyo Games-inspired sweaters to raise funds for the Brain Tumor Charity, with each entry costing £ 2 (approximately US $ 2.80). He started donating parts to the charity in September 2020, Pink News reported, and while showing off another raffle sweater he teased, “I’m going to be giving away lots of things in the coming months, so keep your eyes open.”

While many came to sew during the pandemic lockdowns, Daley said he learned to knit and crochet before the Olympics to help him stay calm. He has already been called the “greatest crochet influencer in the world” by The Guardian.

Daley shares much of his handiwork on a separate Instagram account, @madewithlovebytomdaley, who shared his first post in September and already has 1 million followers (his personal account has 3 million). His knitting and crochet account includes pictures of sweaters, vests, halterneck dresses, dog sweaters, and baby shoes that he made for friends, his husband Dustin Lance Black, and the couple’s three-year-old son, Robbie.

In April he posted a picture of a “cat couch” he had knitted for his mother’s birthday and wrote, “Maybe I went too far?”

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