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Bobby Trundley Team Brit: In Conversation

“With the support of the team, which is like my racing family, I feel so much more able and confident,” Bobby Trundley 

Bobby Trundley is a racing car driver from Wokingham who was diagnosed with autism at 4 years old. At the age of 10, Trundley realised motorsports would be a big part of his life while visiting a go-kart track, but he could never have guessed just how important they would become.

Now, after joining in 2019, Bobby is a prominent member of Team Brit and a professional racing car driver who recently took third place in the 2021 Britcar Championship driving an Aston Marin V* Vantage GT4.

Alongside his racing achievements and wealth of trophies, Trundley has also been awarded the Anna Kennedy OBE, Autism Hero Award for outstanding achievement in sport and the ANCA World Autism Festival Excellence in Sport Award 2017.

For many with autism, and for those unfamiliar with the condition, a diagnosis might seem life-limiting. But, as Bobby discovered, it doesn’t have to be. Being part of Team Brit and the racing car world has not only disproven the notion that autism limits your options, but has also given this young racer a new sense of confidence.

Chapter Z sat down with Bobby Trundley to find out exactly what racing means to him and how Team Brit has spurred on his confidence.

bobby trundley
© Team Brit

In Conversation with Bobby Trundley

Hi Bobby, thanks for speaking with us today! How are you?

No problem! I’m good thank you – still on a bit of a high after a fantastic weekend of racing. We’ve just raced at Bands Hatch in round 7 of the British GT Championship and secured some more silverware, coming away 2nd in our class.

Let’s start at the beginning; when did your interest in racing start and why?

I started in a way that many drivers do – through karting – but the way I was introduced to it probably isn’t so common.  I was diagnosed with severe autism when I was 4 and faced a few challenges growing up. I’d been invited to a karting birthday party when I was 10 and at the time, I absolutely didn’t want to go.

When you have autism, new things and new experiences can be massively overwhelming. When I walked into the building, the sounds and the smells were all too much and I just wanted to get out.  Thankfully, someone who worked there saw that I was struggling, so when all the other kids had gone for lunch, he invited me to come and sit in a kart by myself and have a go.  From that moment I was hooked. I won the race that was held that day and karting became a huge part of my life.

I spent every moment I could at kart tracks and was lucky enough to win 5 national karting titles.  

And from there, how did you become involved with Team Brit?

I’ve always been very passionate about supporting autism charities and raising awareness of the condition. I was taking part in an event organised by Damon Hill for his ‘Halow’ charity and one of the Team BRIT drivers was also there. We were chatting and he asked me to consider getting involved with the team.  I met the team founder, had an assessment and was offered a place in 2019. My life hasn’t been the same since!

What is it about racing that got you hooked on the sport?

Right from that first try at karting, I realised that when I put the racing helmet on, all the other ‘noise’ I experience because of my autism goes away. It allows me to completely focus on what I’m doing, so the sense of adrenaline and achievement is incredible. As I began to win kart races regularly, I realised I had a talent for it and I honestly believe that my autism is an advantage over others on the track.  I can analyse things in minute detail and I think about things that other people might not. I call it my superpower when it comes to racing.

bobby trundley
© Team Brit

What advice would you give to young people with the same diagnosis who want to pursue racing or another sport?

Try it! People with autism offer suffer from low confidence and self-esteem so it can be really hard to put yourself out there and try something new. My life wouldn’t be where it is now if that guy in the kart centre hadn’t encouraged me to sit in the kart. Take a chance and push yourself out of your comfort zone – you never know what you can achieve and what you might just be brilliant at.

You’ve previously mentioned that you used to be far shyer and lacked confidence. Do you think joining Team Brit helped you gain that confidence and, if so, how?

I’m not the same person who joined the team in 2019. Back then I really struggled to speak with people I didn’t know, I didn’t like travelling by myself and I was so shy.  Now, I’m travelling all over the country and even abroad by myself and with my teammates, and I regularly speak in public about what we’re doing.

I think it’s because they have helped me to believe in myself by showing me what is possible.  I have progressed as a driver, winning the majority of my races with the team when I joined, and now making gradual progress racing in a much more competitive championship.

It’s also pushed me to be more independent. As a racing driver, there is a lot you have to do and be responsible for and no one is carried by the team. We have to be fully up to speed with what is required of us at every race weekend, we need to put the time into practice and train, and we have to develop relationships with our sponsors.  These are all things that would have been terrifying to me a few years ago.  With the support of the team, which is like my racing family, I feel so much more able and confident.

What’s the best part of being a member of Team Brit?

Without a doubt, the incredible opportunities it has given me.

Before I joined the team I had never been on a plane.  This year I flew to Portugal for winter testing and was driving myself all around Portimao, going to and from the track. Even when winning in my karting days, if you’d said to me I’d be driving a McLaren GT4, racing against Le Mans winners, I never would have believed you. Now – that’s my life! I’ll be eternally grateful.

And finally, what are your racing goals for the next year or so?

Well, we’ve nearly completed our first year in the British GT Championship. We’ve made history by being the first ever all-disabled team to compete.  As I write, we’re doing well and we could be in contention for a class podium. Whatever happens, I’ll see it as a massive success. Aaron and I have driven so well together and the crew have performed flawlessly in a championship that is a massive step up for us.

Next year, I hope we can have another successful season in British GT, but we also want to secure our first GT3 car which I would love to drive.  Longer-term, we want to be the first all-disabled team to race in the Le Mans 24-hour and I’ll be doing all I can to be part of that driver lineup.

Community Featured

Lionesses Euros Success Scores for Women and LGBTQ+ Individuals Across the UK

Since the Lionesses won at the 2022 Euros, attitudes towards women and the LGBTQ+ community in sports have slowly started to change

On July 31st, 2022, a team of ambitious women’s hard work and determination monumentally paid off. The Lionesses achieved what had started to become but a mere dream following the stinging failure of the men’s loss in the 2021 Euro final. Seemingly, they accomplished what the men could not with a 2-1 win against Germany in the 2022 Women’s Euros, England’s first piece of silverware at an international level since men’s success in the 1966 World Cup. Not only is the win significant for football fans across the nation, but the Lionesses’ triumph marks what will hopefully become a turning point in attitudes towards women and LGBTQ+ individuals in sport, something that has long sparked controversy to a ridiculous degree. Clearly, women and LGBTQ+ individuals do, in fact, belong on the pitch and in sporting communities, and can be incredibly successful doing so. And now, perhaps it is not too far-fetched to suggest that both parties can accomplish, in some cases, what their male counterparts cannot.

Women’s place on the football pitch has long been a contended issue amongst the nation. In 1921, the Football Association [FA] banned women from playing football in stadiums, deeming it to be “quite unsuitable for females”. This, during then and from a contemporary perspective, was an unreasonable assumption due to the success of teams like Dick and Kerr Ladies, who played games in front of tens of thousands of people for charity. This, therefore, highlights that women’s football was not only a popular entertainment and pastime even back then, but was directly benefiting society through the means of charitable donation. It was nothing less than a blatant act of misogyny. The policy was revoked exactly 50 years after it was first put into practice, but equal opportunities for women in football are still hard to come by. For example, following their achievement, the 23 members of the Lionesses have called Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak (those who are currently in running to be the next Prime Minister following Boris Johnson’s resignation in July of 2022) by means of an open letter to ensure every girl can play football at school if they so wish. Currently, football is not necessarily offered to young girls in PE classes at their school, rather, the Department of Education recommends girls are instead offered “comparable sports” to football, such as netball or rounders. As a direct result of this, the FA created a report and discovered that only six in ten girls can play football in their PE classes and, of those who are not allowed to play, 91% wish that they could. In short, women are slighted of their chance to follow their passion and increase their chance at a successful football career from girlhood. 

Lionesses win at the Euros
Lionesses win at the Euros © Getty Images

However, we can look to the Lionesses’ success as somewhat of a turning point in interest in women’s football. According to PinkNews, “The team’s skilful performances in the tournament have sparked unprecedented national interest in women’s football – something the team is now rallying to cement – and has marked a turning point in attitudes towards female footballers”. But not only has a difference been made for attitudes towards women’s place in sporting communities, but for attitudes to LGBTQ+ individuals in sports. Of the Lionesses, there are 8 out and proud members of the team: Lauren Hemp, Beth Mead, Rachel Daly, Demi Stokes, Jill Scott, Fran Kirby, Jess Carter and finally, Beth England. 

Homophobia towards women who have chosen to play football has also been a continuous issue, irrespective of their actual sexuality. According to a 2008 report published by Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, “Some girls avoid certain sports for fear of being perceived as unfeminine or lesbian; some parents discourage their daughters from taking up sport; some lesbian athletes avoid going public about their sexuality in case they experience prejudice from other athletes and coaches or lose public support or sponsorship.” In 2022, this is not an issue that we as a society have resolved.

Lionesses win at the Euros
Lionesses win at the Euros © Reuters

Misogyny and homophobic comments are seemingly not limited to the audiences and fans of football, with Scottish ex-footballer and now a commentator for Sky Sports, Graeme Souness, publicly calling football a “man’s sport”. However, this does not discredit the remarkable accomplishment of the Lionesses for both women and LGBTQ+ individuals, who are now likely to feel more represented due to the brave openness the above members of Lionesses have displayed regarding their sexuality. And, thankfully, an outpour of support and happiness has obscured the negativity.

This is exactly what the LGBTQ+ members of the Lionesses should be proud of. But, as a team, all members regardless of their sexuality have achieved the unthinkable for improving attitudes towards women’s place in football, which is absolutely a cause for celebration by the 23-member team, women, girls and LGBTQ+ individuals across the nation. 

Community Featured

Tom Daley Makes a Splash at Commonwealth Games

Tom Daley Used the Opportunity to Champion the LGBTQ+ Community

British, Olympic champion diver Tom Daley rippled the waters at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. On the 28th of July, Daley entered Alexander Stadium in Birmingham carrying the LGBTQ+ Pride Progress flag alongside LGBTQ+ activists from more than 30 countries. This courageous act took place out of a desire to reject and criticise the 35 countries in the Commonwealth that are yet to stop punishment towards same-sex relations. An act that follows from Daley’s previous public criticism of the Commonwealth [in the context of sport] for continuing to support and involve governments that criminalise LGBTQ+ livelihoods. 

The accomplished British diver who won gold at the Olympics last year took to his Instagram to speak about this display before the opening ceremony was aired, stating, “In over half of the Commonwealth countries, homosexuality is still a crime and in 3 of those countries the maximum penalty is the death sentence.” And, “This opening ceremony for us is about showing LGBTQ+ visibility to the billion people watching.”

Tom Daley at Commonwealth Games
Tom Daley at Commonwealth Games © Getty Images

Additionally, Daley stuck to his promise of visibility by showcasing the six activists that stood beside him in the opening ceremony. Including Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi, Jamaican activist J-Flag Glenroy Murray, openly gay Indian athlete Dutee Chand, Zimbabwean activist Moud Gaba and finally, Trinidadian LGBTQ+ advocate Jason Jones.

To continue the fight, Daley and the BBC announced on the 27th of July that the diver would be the frontman of a new LGBTQ+ activism documentary, titled ‘Tom Daley: Illegal to be Me’. Having been aired on the 9th of August, the documentary saw Daley travelling to Commonwealth countries that still criminalise any LGBTQ+ activity. He chose to meet with people to discuss what can be done about changing the laws to make a non-heterosexual lifestyle safer for those involved. 

The documentary received positive feedback, and it is no doubt that Daley will continue to make waves, not ripples, in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights globally. 

Art + Culture Featured

Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony: Standout Moments

Birmingham shows off its musical talent at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony

For the past week, the Commonwealth Games has been dominating sporting news. Britain’s second biggest city has pulled off a spectacular competition, which saw many sporting triumphs – amongst a few disasters. As the games drew to a close, a colourful closing ceremony signed off the week in style, with some surprise appearances and some nostalgic tunes. 

Birmingham’s Black Country History was honored

Commonwealth Games
Nod to Peaky Blinders and the Black Country (USA Fire News)

Situated between the two cities of Wolverhampton and Birmingham lies a relatively working-class network of towns called the Black Country. The Black Country takes its name from the overwhelming pollution that tinged streets and suburbs to a murky dark color. The region is characterised by the network of canals that stretch from town to town, which once transported materials and goods at the peak of the industrial revolution. Creative directors Amber Rimell and Bronski said, “the show captures a poignant moment that reflects on Birmingham’s rich and diverse culture that makes this city so unique.” They even did a cheeky nod to Peaky Blinders, “Pre-set in 1950s post-war Birmingham, the show consists of real stories from real people who together made this city the thriving post-industrial heart of the UK.”

Ozzy Osbourne Makes An Unexpected Appearance

Ozzy Osbourne at the Commonwealth Games
Ozzy at the games (Independent)

Probably the most talked about moment is when the Brummie-born Prince of Darkness himself Ozzy Osbourne turned up to perform a selection of his biggest hits, including the metal hit, ‘Dreamer.’ “I love you, Birmingham, it’s good to be back!” shouted Ozzy to a hometown crowd. At the end of the iconic performance, he sent his heartfelt appreciation, “Thank you, good night, you are the best, God bless you all – Birmingham forever!”

The 73-year-old wasn’t expected to perform as ill health meant that he hasn’t taken to the stage in almost three years. His wife, Sharon Osbourne, who was also his manager, proudly shared photos of Ozzy and daughter Kelly on Instagram, saying, “thank you #commonwealthgames2022 it was an honor.”

The Closing Ceremony Was Effectively A Mini Concert

Beverly Knight
Beverley Knight (Birmingham Mail)

Birmingham has been a hotbed of musical talent over the years. As well as Black Sabbath, the city has been the launchpad of some of the UK’s biggest selling stars, including Duran Duran, Beverley Knight, Laura Mvula, Dexys Midnight Runners and reggae veterans UB40. 30,000 audience members and millions of viewers from all around the world tuned in to the spectacular concert which ended with an impressive firework display. Birmingham sure knows how to throw a party.

The show honored Birmingham’s rich Indian and South Asian heritage

Bhangra, Apache at the Commonwealth Games
Bhangra, Apache (Mid Day News)

A defining feature of Birmingham is its wonderfully multicultural society. It was great, therefore, to see Indian culture honored in a section of the ceremony, when Stephen Kapur, popularly known as Apache Indian played a collection of hits. Then, British-Indian model and activist Neelam Gill arrived in a yellow MG while Punjabi MC blasted ‘Mundyian To Bach Ke,’ which celebrated Birmingham’s daytime culture: originating in the 1980s and 90s. There was also a high-tempo performance from a Bhangra troupe, which brought traditional dance to a packed-out statidum. 

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Lionesses Triumph at Euro 2022: England Beat Germany

Lionesses Captain, Leah Williamson: “The match is not the end of a journey but the start of one”

England’s women’s (the Lionesses) team made history this weekend after winning their first major tournament at the final of the 2022 Euros. Eight-time champions Germany lost 2-1 in the tense match at Wembley. The result is a landmark moment for both English and women’s sport. 

England's Lionesses
The winning moment (The Independent)

As the match moved into extra time, an apprehensive crowd watched on, praying to the football gods that England will snatch the win. Just a few years ago, England’s men’s team narrowly missed out on taking home the trophy, after losing to Italy on penalties. But to the amazement of the fans, substitute Chloe Kelly took advantage of a corner and scored the winning goal. The 87,000+ stadium roared with delight, as England was set to be crowned European champions. A cautious Ferry waited for confirmation before celebrating the win. Moments later, the confirmation came and the team ripped off their shirts, sprinting around the pitch to take in the sheer gravity of their win. 

Shortly after the triumph, the Lionesses captain, Leah Williamson commented on the historic win, “What we’ve seen in the tournament already is that this hasn’t just been a change for women’s football but society in general, it’s about how we’re looked upon.” Willaimson then discussed the future of women’s football in England: “The final is not the end of a journey but the start of one. And regardless of the end result, there will be a nice moment for reflection. Naturally, it’s my job to go out for 90 minutes to play and win, but when we look back on this tournament as a whole, we’ll have really started something. I want tomorrow to be the start, to be a maker for the future.”

The Lionesses
The team (Voa News)

Despite this incredible victory, there is unfortunately still a lot of misogyny from football fans in the UK and around the world. Although women’s football is gaining momentum and acceptance, there is still a long way to go before it is considered ‘as important’ as the men’s team. “I’ve only ever been in this football workplace but, in most workplaces across the world, women still have a few more battles to face to try to overcome,” said Williamson. “For every success we make, for every change of judgment or perception or the opening of the eyes of somebody who will now view women as somebody with the potential to be the equal of her male counterpart, that can create change in society.”


The 2022 Commonwealth Games: What You Need To Know

The Commonwealth Games is a lesser-known sporting event, but it has a deeper history than you might think

The Commonwealth Games, which is commonly known as the ‘Friendly Games’ is an international sporting competition that exclusively features athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations: the name given to the collection of countries that were former territories under the British Empire. The purpose of the games is supposed to promote healthy competition between nations after the end of colonization, although many argue that the event is a continuation of British imperialism; a way for Britain to build on fostering relationships with the 72 nations, which are a crucial part of British economic trade. Politics aside, the sporting event is a spectacular showcase of some of the world’s best sporting achievements.

What are some of the stats?

Commonwealth games
Birmingham City Centre (The CGF)

This year the UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham, will welcome athletes from around the Commonwealth to compete in an 11-day Olympic-style competition featuring 19 sports. There are 280 different medals up for grabs by 4600 participants at the Commonwealth Games. There are 72 countries taking part in this year’s games, which will take place at a total of 15 venues that are scattered throughout the West Midlands area. Organising an event on this scale is a huge undertaking. There has been a huge multi-million-pound refurbishment to the Birmingham city centre area, complete with a 72 million transformation to the Alexander Stadium – which will be the main venue.

When are the Commonwealth Games being held?

The games take place from 28th July to 8th August.

commonwealth map
Map of the Commonwealth (From Vallenato Media and Council of Foreign Affaird)

Who takes part?

There are 72 countries taking part. From Africa to South America, competing nations span all corners of the globe. The most medal-winning nations who competed at the last games – held on Australia’s Gold Coast – were Australia with 198, England with 136, India with 66 and Canada with 82. But, big nations aside, smaller countries, such as Bermuda, Fiji, and Guyana also snatched meddles. However, inevitably, money and population have a huge impact on the leader boards.

Who decides where it’s hosted?

Casta Semenya
Casta Semenya who broke the 1500m record at 2018’s games (CNN)

Similar to the Olympics and the World Cup, countries need to bid for the rights to host the competition. The decision-making process is dependent on many factors, ranging from infrastructure and politics.

Katie Sadlier, the head of the Commonwealth Federation recently said that countries where it is illegal to be LGBTQI+ will not be eligible to bid for the games. This decision is an attempt to put pressure on governments across the Commonwealth that have harmful laws toward queer people. In fact, more than half of the competing nations – 54 to be exact – have laws that openly discriminate against same-sex relationships. Sadlier recently commented on the change in bidding eligibility requirements, “I think one of the things that is really important about the Commonwealth Games is its values – humanity, destiny and equity are embedded in most of the things that we do.”

Can you get involved?

The head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II (From the Council of Foreign Relations)

The 11-day event will see 14,000 dedicated volunteers helping out with the logistics. Sadly, it’s too late to volunteer, but you can still make your way to Birmingham to experience the buzz in the city, which will be swamped with giant screens and engaging street events. A full list of activities can be found on the official Birmingham 2022 website. There are also some tickets available!

And, if you can’t be bothered to physically get involved, you can watch the BBC’s live coverage, which will stream on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Three channels – as well as on the iPlayer and the Red Button.

Featured TV and Film

Quidditch Renamed to Disassociate Sport From JK Rowling

The Harry Potter franchise takes another blow, thanks to JK Rowling’s transphobic comments

The fictional game – which became popular in the ‘muggle’ world – has decided to dissociate itself from its creator, and author, JK Rowling. The sport will now be called Quadball. Although there are many reasons for the decision, bosses of the Quidditch League have said that Rowling’s comments on trans rights were “partly behind the name change.”

Quidditch in play
Quidditch (Fox News)

The real-life version of Quidditch is surprisingly a big sport. Although the UK is one of the biggest players of Quidditch – due to its affiliation with universities – it is also played by around 600 teams in over 40 different countries. In fact, the United States was the first nation to fully develop the framework of Quidditch as a sport, back in 2005. Since then, Quidditch has grown in popularity, and in order to manage the rules, management and marketing of the sport, the International Quidditch Association was set up. Representatives of the IQA recently acknowledged how Rowling is coming “under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions.” This was undoubtedly the tipping point for the change to Quadball.

Quidditch is a peculiar sport to play. It’s a full contact sport, in which players need to prevent their opponents from scoring in the three hooped goals. Each team consists of seven players, who run around the oval-shaped pitch, trying to secure the Quaffle ball, which is worth 10 points, and the golden snitch (worth 30). Each team consists of one seeker, one keeper, two beaters and three chasers – who all have various responsibilities, ranging from defending to scoring. The sport is incredibly fun, combining active cardio, with strategy and precision. The sport is unique in that it is a mixed-gendered game, something that clearly influenced their supportive tone on trans rights.

Quidditch game
Quidditch (The Telegraph)

The British governing body, Quidditch (QUK), quickly offered its approval of the name change, announcing it was “symbolically and practically significant.” They continued: “The name change indicates a firm stance with our trans players and members, as well as giving us more firm legal footing and opening up greater opportunities for funding and external partners.”

The Harry Potter franchise has long been a safe haven for those who feel outcast and different from mainstream society. Many players of Quidditch use the sport as a way to socialise and play in a friendly environment that is competitive, but also inclusive. Fortunately, the suits behind the sport have recognised their demographics, and are distancing themselves from hateful narratives. This is a new direction for Quidditch, let’s hope it continues to be a safe space for all, regardless of gender.

Community Featured

Paddy Pimblett: A Powerful Message From the Most Unlikely of Places

UFC’s Paddy Pimblett Shares Poignant Message on Mental Health Following Friends’ Suicide

Over the weekend, all eyes were on UFC’s Paddy Pimblett as he fights his way to victory against component Jordan Leavitt. But, it wasn’t the vicious chokeholds or the shin-slamming kicks that got everyone talking, rather, it was Paddy’s frank post-fight interview discussing mental health.

Paddy Pimblett
Paddy Pimblett (Daily Mail)

The day before the fight, Paddy woke up at 4:00 am to find a text message on his phone. To his disbelief, the text shared the news of his friend’s suicide. The text turned Paddy’s world upside down, and he wasn’t sure that he could continue with the fight the following day. Paddy decided to temporarily park his emotions so that he could attend the pre-fight weigh-in. “I just had to do it, I had to stay strong for myself – just everyone around me,” said the Liverpudlian, nicknamed ‘The Baddy’. Paddy then found out that he needed to lose more weight before the fight. The whole time, the grief weighed heavy: “I still had to go and do another two pounds and I thought ‘what am I doing here? Why am I even doing this?”

After the fight in London was over, a distraught Paddy decided to dedicate his victory interview to his late friend, who sadly lost his life to suicide. “There’s a stigma in this world that men can’t talk. Listen, if you’re a man and you’ve got a weight on your shoulders and you think the only way you can solve it is by killing yourself, please speak to someone. Speak to anyone,” he said, speaking from the heart. “People would rather, I know I’d rather, have their mate cry on their shoulder than go to their funeral. So please, let’s get rid of this stigma and men start talking.”

Just hours after the interview aired, Paddy went from a relatively unknown sports personality to the nation’s number one topic of conversation. Clips of his interview were shared throughout social media, alongside powerful messages on ending mental health stigma. “It’s brilliant to see sportsmen like Paddy Pimblett using their platform to spread awareness about mental health,” says one Twitter User. “A breath of fresh air,” said another astonished viewer, who didn’t expect a UFC fighter to open up so publicly.

Paddy Pimblett Fight
Paddy in the ring (MMA)

Paddy’s honest and heartfelt interview on live TV was one of the most powerful moments in sport. People in all kinds of sports are expected to hide their emotions, but with UFC, being tough is part of the act. Paddy’s emotive words cut through to thousands of guarded men, who think that talking about mental health is a sign of weakness. Paddy proves that it takes strength to cry and it takes courage to be open. This is a landmark moment for men’s mental health and male suicide. There is a long way to go, but Paddy’s bravery has sparked a much-needed conversation in a closed-off demographic.


Olympic Diver Tom Daley to Become Knitwear Fashion Designer

Is Tom Daley planning on hanging up his Speedos for good?

In the Tokoyo Olympics in 2021, Tom Daley hit headlines around the world, but for not the reasons you might initially expect. Amongst the cheering crowds, the waving flags and the tense athletes sat a calm and composed Tom, knitting away, making a multicoloured jumper. “The one thing that has kept me sane throughout this whole process is my love for knitting and crochet and all things stitching,” he said, sitting on the poolside. Although many around the world thought it was a publicity stunt, Tom was in fact being genuine: as knitting and crocheting is his form of relaxation and meditation. And, it’s something that clearly worked, as Tom, and his diving partner Matty Lee, snatched a gold medal from the Chinese favourites.

Tom Daley at the Tokyo Olympics
Tom Knitting at the Olympics (NPR)

As Tom reaches the winter of his sporting career, a new adventure is inevitable. The 28-year-old has already had numerous commentating responsibilities, travelling tv shows and even his own diving reality show. But all these generic options aside for retired sporting legends, Tom is forging his own path, in the knitwear fashion industry. “Once I finish diving I want to be a designer for life,” he said, in an interview with Grazia. Tom has already flirted with the idea of giving up on his diving career, after being exhausted by the pressure.

Team GB cardigan
Tom at the Olympics in a self-made jumper (ITV)

In the same interview with Grazia, Tom confesses the hardships of growing up in the public eye, and how the sporting attire gave him body confidence issues. “I wanted to walk away from the Sport,” he said, reflecting on his turbulent career to date. “So then all of a sudden I’m on the diving board thinking, ‘Oh gosh, everybody thinks I’m fat.’ And that really, really messed with my head,” he said. “It gave me all kinds of body image issues that I still have to this day,” Daley notes. “I had a real struggle with bulimia for a while.”

Since coming out on the infamous YouTube video, Tom has begun to accept his sexuality, and is now in a loving marriage with his husband, film director, Dustin Lance Black – they even have a child together, called Robert. Tom’s journey sporting journey and personal life have made him a role model for queer kids across the country.

Tom Daley in Vogue
Tom (Vogue)

Last year, Tom launched his own fashion label, called Made With Love. He generously donated all the profits to Rainbow Railroad – a fabulous charity that helps LGBTQI+ refugees from around the world escape persecution and find safety in the UK.

Nowadays, Tom seems at peace with his career and his current path in life. “I love this new collection and I love summer, being outdoors with my family and friends, going on holiday, having a BBQ or a party on my rooftop,” he said. “This collection for me sums up that feeling and contains pieces you can create that can be part of your summer memories.”

Explore Tom’s current range on his website

Community Featured

Everything You Need To Know About UEFA Women’s Euro

UEFA Women’s Euro Championship to break records among sports championships

This year, the 13th edition of the UEFA Women’s Euro Championship will be held between July 6th and July 31st 2022. Initially scheduled to take place in 2021, UEFA Women’s European Championship had been postponed for a year due to COVID-19, meaning it’s more anticipated today than ever.

Who is hosting Euro 2022?

The UEFA Women’s Euros 2022 is being hosted in England. The last time England hosted the tournament was in 2005, with that edition featuring eight teams. 

The Netherlands are the defending champions this time, and it’s the first time that Northern Ireland has participated in a UEFA Women’s Euro competition.

UEFA Women's Euro team
UEFA Women’s Euro team © Getty Images

Where is the Women’s Euro 2022 being held?

The opening game took place in front of Old Trafford on Wednesday 6 July, and it’s set to conclude at Wembley Stadium on 31 July. Meadow Lane ain Nottingham and London Road in Peterborough were also included on the stadium list when the Football Association submitted the bid for the tournament host. After a careful selection process, ten venues were selected.

UEFA also announced a Women’s Euro 2022 Metaverse esports event, a special edition of the Metaverse Gaming League. The event was streamed on Twitch and YouTube back in June, hoping to inspire more youth to play soccer through Roblox. This is similar to Wimbledon’s Virtual Hill event in the Metaverse.

How many teams are in the Women’s Euros?

Sixteen teams successfully qualified for the Euros, and they’ve been drawn into four different groups. Each team will play against each other during a group stage, earning three points per win, one point for a draw and no points if they lose. Two teams will rise to the top from each group and advance onto the knockout stages.

Before reaching this stage, however, 48 UEFA nations entered the competition. England qualified automatically as the competition’s host and the other 47 teams competed to determine which one would make the remaining 15 spots in the final tournament.

Unlike other qualifying competitions, the preliminary round had been eliminated. All UEFA Women’s Euro entrants automatically began in the qualifying group stage. In this stage, the 47 teams are divided into nine groups, two groups of six teams and seven of five. 

The qualifying group stage took place back in August 2019 to December 2020. COVID-19 heavily messed up the tournament’s timeline, with the playoffs scheduled for October 2020 but held in April 2021.

The sixteen participating countries were divided into the following groups:

  • Group A: Austria, England, Northern Ireland, Norway.
  • Group B: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Spain.
  • Group C: Portugal, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland.
  • Group D: Belgium, Italy, Iceland, France.

This year’s favourites include England, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands. However, international tournaments are highly volatile and the underdogs could quickly emerge as winners with several gold medals.

Goal-line technology and the video assistant referee (VAR) will be used in the finals. This match official was written into the Laws of the Game by the International Football Association Board in 2021.

The UEFA Women’s Championship, also known as the UEFA Women’s Euro, is the primary women’s association football competition. It’s held every four years between national teams selected by the UEFA confederation.

Portuguese team
Portuguese team © Federação Portuguesa de Futebol

What to expect from the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022?

The Russian team was suspended from participating in the competition in February 2022 after they invaded Ukraine. UEFA later stated on 2 May 2022 that Russia was banned from every European competition, and in their place, Portugal would participate. 

Russia had defeated Portugal in the play-off stage. Due to the ongoing invasion and safety concerns, the UK might also host Eurovision 2023.

Host England will be backing on their home support to achieve their victory and facing heavy competition from Sweden and reigning champions, the Netherlands. 

England had been a runner-up twice in the Women’s Championship, and this time around, it might be their time to shine as gold medal winners.