Olympic champion Matty Lee vows to focus on his individual career

Diver won gold alongside Tom Daley at the Tokyo Olympics

David Charlesworth
Wednesday 22 September 2021 15:45
Matty Lee, right, won Olympic gold alongside Tom Daley at Tokyo 2020 (Adam Davy/PA)
Matty Lee, right, won Olympic gold alongside Tom Daley at Tokyo 2020 (Adam Davy/PA)

Matty Lee intends to put more of an emphasis on his individual career in the run-up to Paris 2024 after revealing he will “always cherish forever” winning Olympic gold alongside Tom Daley a couple of months ago.

Daley topping the podium alongside Lee in the men’s synchronised 10m metres platform was among the feelgood stories of Tokyo 2020 as the Plymouth diver claimed his first gold 13 years after making his debut appearance at a Games.

Lee has put his solo ambitions on hold in recent years in order to concentrate fully on his partnership with Daley, who has not officially committed to competing at the next Olympics although he hinted in Japan he would continue.

But while Lee was also coy about whether he and Daley would defend their crown in France in three years’ time, the 23-year-old from Leeds told the PA news agency: “I’d like to concentrate on synchro and individual this time.

“Me and Tom got the synchro medal, I’m not sure what Tom’s doing, if he’s going to carry on or not, he hasn’t given me any clues yet but I’m just letting him decide about that.

“But I really want to focus on my individual career going into Paris.”

Lee and Daley never dropped out of the top two at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in late July and prevailed by just 1.23 points ahead of Chinese duo Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen.

Reflecting on his time in Japan and the weeks since, Lee added: “The Olympics went perfectly. I say a fairytale but it’s not. There was a lot of hard grit behind the scenes that no one ever sees and it wasn’t easy at all.

“It’s so good to have achieved such an amazing achievement, especially alongside Tom and to be able to help him get that gold medal, too, is something I’ll always cherish forever.

“It’s been a crazy period since coming back; I had to celebrate, I’m now back in training, back to doing what I love which is fitness. It’s still not sunk in, I still don’t quite believe what I’ve achieved.”

Lee was speaking at an event in London to promote National Fitness Day, which is described as the most active day of the year and highlights the role physical activity plays across the UK.

Lee added: “It’s almost like a golden opportunity, pardon the pun, to get everyone fit and bring everyone together and hopefully just get moving.

“Mental and physical health are so important, especially mental health, especially coming out of the pandemic, so hopefully we can inspire more people.”