Matty Lee goes from autograph hunter to Olympic champion alongside Tom Daley

Matty Lee has a photo of himself and Tom Daley in which they do not have Olympic gold medals around their neck.

“It’s the first time I met him and I am tiny and Tom is still tiny but way bigger than me,” laughs the Leeds diver.

It is his first memory of Daley, the first time they met. He wasn’t competing with him he was looking for his autograph.

“I was a fan of Tom’s when I was younger, I watched him, I idolised him, I wanted to be him basically,” said Lee.

“Now years on we are doing synchro and winning a gold medal at an Olympics. It’s pretty crazy.”

Lee, 23, turned his life on its head to team up with Britain’s most famous diver.

“It was October 2018 and I moved my whole life to London from Leeds,” he said. “I was away from my family and friends, everyone, I had nothing really in London. But our aim was to win an Olympic medal.”

Head over heels: Lee and Daley on their way to gold

In the heat of battle yesterday the pair’s coach Jane Figueiredo wondered how the younger man, in his first Games, would cope. She need not have worried.

“I owe a lot to this guy because he’s taught me a lot,” Lee said of Daley after presenting him with his medal at their DIY Covid-secure podium ceremony.

“I had no friends in London and this guy introduced me to his mates and his family. We are now best friends and spend a lot of time with each other.

Glory moment: British pair claim gold ahead of China
Glory moment: British pair claim gold ahead of China

“To be able to put the well-deserved gold medal around his neck was really special to me, and I’m very very proud of him.

“Obviously it’s my dream to be a gold medallist, an Olympic gold medallist, but it’s great to be able to have won it with him.”

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