Tom Daley is a young British diver, who is already an Olympic gold medallist, double world champion and 5-time European champion in 10-metre platform diving. Yet in 2021 he made the headlines not for his impressive sporting achievements, but for his hobby, namely… knitting. A photograph of him knitting in the stands at the Tokyo Olympic Games went all over the news and became viral.
This may seem a strange hobby for a young athlete. But Daley says that he was simply looking for a way to relax and pass free time on the poolside during competitions. Instead of nervously sitting and waiting for his turn to dive, he now knits scarves, blankets, jumpers and vests. In the two weeks of the Olympics, he created a white cardigan with the Union Jack flag and five Olympic rings, which in itself deserves a gold medal.
But being a sportsman, Daley is a classic overachiever. He has to feel like everything is a challenge and he is the best at what he does. So a small hobby has quickly transformed into a business movement. To share his passion with the world, Daley launched the Made with Love website, on which he posts video tutorials and sells knitting kits (needles, yarns and patterns), as well as ready-to-wear apparel.
The media attention around Tom Daley’s hobby started a universal trend. Knitting used to be a hobby for grandmothers and women on maternity leave. Now millennials and even zoomers, both male and female, share the results of their amateur knitting on social media. It took just one athlete to make knitting cool and turn a “guilty pleasure” into a fashionable pastime.