Tom Daley knitting during the women’s springboard jump final in Tokyo 2020. (Photo: Clive Rose via .)
The Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games are giving a lot to talk about both in competitions and outside of them. Feminist demands such as that of German gymnasts or American fencers against the objectification of women and sexual harassment, respectively, have been added to the mental health allegations of athletes like Simone Biles.
Another of the protagonists has been the British jumper Tom Daley, who put on the table the role of LGTBI athletes in these Olympic Games after winning the gold medal in the synchronized springboard jump. “I am incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion. I feel very empowered by that, ”he said at the subsequent press conference.
But this message has not been the only one that has run through social networks, Daley also starred in a unique and never seen before in an Olympic Games. The Olympic medalist attended the women’s springboard final and was weaving while watching his teammates from the stands.
His image led some viewers to see in him an example of new masculinity and serenity, very different from that shown by other athletes such as Novak Djokovik, who broke a racket and threw another into the stands in his defeat against the Spanish Pablo Carreño .
However, behind that curious hobby – and also a way of channeling the stress of the competition – there is a good cause. Daley took to knitting to manage the pressure of competitions and, in September 2020, he created the firm Made with love by Tom Daley, with which, thanks to the auction of his creations, he finances research against brain tumors, a cause for which her father passed away in 2019.
On his brand’s Instagram account, he also shares the patterns he uses, his latest creations and even recommends the best yarns to his followers.
Among her latest posts, Daley has recounted how knitting has helped her at the Olympics and has shared the knitted cover with the UK flag she made for the gold medal. “The only thing that has kept me sane these times is my love for knitting and crochet and everything related to sewing,” he told his followers.
The truth is that in an extreme situation like the one that Olympians experience during the games, knitting becomes a tool to manage anxiety. According to the 2018 Knit for Peace study, knitting “reduces blood pressure, as well as levels of depression and anxiety, and delays the onset of dementia,” benefits that were compared by many to yoga.
At a time when mental health is on everyone’s lips, one of the most effective remedies could be in the hands of what grandmothers have been doing all their lives.
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.