Tokyo 2020 Olympics champion Matty Lee tried to get ‘idol’ Tom Daley’s autograph as a kid

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics champion Matty Lee has explained how far back his connection with Tom Daley goes, recalling asking for the diving star’s autograph when he was a child as he looked up to him as his ‘idol’.

Earlier this week, Tom, 27, finally won gold at the Olympics with Matty, 23, when the pair triumphed in the 10m synchronised platform diving event.

On Friday’s edition of This Morning, Matty, having travelled back from Tokyo, joined Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford in the ITV studio to discuss his incredible win, emphasising how ‘important’ it was that he and Tom awarded each other their gold medals due to Covid-19 restrictions.

‘It’s usually someone who you don’t really know giving [you the medal] so it was even more important that my syncro partner and my best friend and my idol when I was growing up gave me my gold medal!’ he said.

While they’re now diving partners, over a decade ago, Matty took inspiration from Tom for his own diving aspirations, with This Morning showing a photograph taken of the pair when Matty was around seven years old.

‘I started diving when I was seven and I think he was in the limelight since he was 13 and went to the Olympics when he was 14 and was a world champion when he was 15, so pretty much straight away I was a huge fan of his because I was in his sport, so I was looking up to him,’ the athlete said.

Tom and Matty celebrate their incredible Tokyo 2020 Olympics win (Picture: AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Describing Tom as his ‘role model’, Matty said it was ‘so weird how it’s all turned out’ now that they’re Olympic champions together.

‘I had multiple photos with him and I’d get him to sign a poster…’ he added.

Tom gave Matty a special gold ring as a gift after their Olympics win (Picture: ITV)

Tom and Matty were only paired up a couple of years ago, with Matty moving from Leeds to London so that he could start working on doing syncro with Tom.

Not only did their partnership turn out to be a match made in heaven, but Tom also helped Matty settle into life in the English capital, as he didn’t know anyone in the city before his move.

Stressing that he and Tom have ‘never’ had a fallout, Matty said: ‘You’ve met Tom before he’s really, really nice and I owe him a lot because when I moved to London I had no friends – all my friends and family were in Leeds – and he took me under his wing and introduced me to his friends and now some of them are my best friends, so no we don’t fall out.’

More: ITV

After winning gold in Tokyo, Tom gifted Matty with a gold Olympics ring, matching the one he also has.

While Matty has returned to the UK, Tom is still in Tokyo to compete in the individual 10m platform diving event, the final for which will take place on Saturday August 7.

This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.

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