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Olympic Diver Used Knitting and Crochet to Relax While Training for Tokyo Olympics

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Olympic diver Tom Daley spent thousands of hours in the pool practicing for the Tokyo Olympics, but he also credits his success to an unexpected habit: Knitting and crochet. On Monday, Daley and his diving partner Matty Lee won gold in the men's synchronized 10-meter platform event. The diver took to social media to show off a hand-knit pouch he'd crafted to keep his medal safe following the medal ceremony.

Daley learned to knit in 2019 (Maddi Keeney of the Australian diving team taught him the skill) while preparing for his last competition before the pandemic hit. Once lockdown started, he began knitting and crocheting almost daily.

instagram/@madewithlovebytomdaley

In September of 2020, he created an Instagram account—with more than 193,000 followers—called @madewithlovebytomdaley. He learned to knit first, then picked up crochet, and now is making and sharing intricate sweaters, vests, dresses, and even a miniature purple knit couch for his cats.

On Tuesday, Daley shared a video thanking his followers for their support and showing off the knit pouch he had made for his gold medal. He captioned the post "Learning to knit and crochet has helped me so much through these Olympics and we won GOLD yesterday."

Daley has been competing at the Olympics since 2008 and has two bronze medals, but this is his first gold. Understandably, it was an emotional win for him. In the video posted to his Instagram, he explained how knitting and crochet kept him going through both the pandemic and his training for the Olympics. "The one thing that has kept me sane throughout this whole process is my love for knitting and crochet and all things stitching, so I want to say thank you to all my followers," he said.

Related: Studies Show Knitting and Crocheting Can Help Lower Stress Levels

The pouch features the Union Jack (the design of the British flag) on one side to honor Daley's home country and the Japanese flag on the other side. "It all tucks in nicely so I have a little pouch to carry around my medal without it getting scratched," he said.

Daley next competes on Friday, August 6 in the men's individual 10-meter event—and if he's successful again, he may need to knit another medal-carrying pouch.