"I realized that whether I do really well or whether I do terribly in the pool, that I can go home to a husband and son that loves me regardless," Daley said after his win.

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Tom Daley
Credit: Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

The rush of victory was written all over British diver Tom Daley's face on Monday after his synchronized diving event in the Tokyo Summer Games.

He stood with teammate and "best mate" Matty Lee, tears welling in his eyes, to see that the pair had just won a gold medal in the men's 10m platform.

In Daley's third Olympics — at 27, with a bronze each from the 2012 and 2016 Games and having just recovered from a knee surgery — he was finally a champion.

"It's kind of unbelievable," he told reporters afterward.

"I thought I was going to win an Olympic gold medal in Rio [in 2016] and that turned out the complete opposite by a long shot," Daley said, "and it was my husband who said to me that my story wasn't finished and that my son or child — we didn't know at the time — needed to be there to watch me win an Olympic gold medal."

It all went perfectly right, he said.

Tom Daley and Matty Lee
Tom Daley (left) and Matty Lee pose with their medals on the podium after wining the men's synchronized 10m platform diving event during the Tokyo Olympic Games on Monday.
| Credit: Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

"We couldn't put a foot wrong in that competition if we were going to win it," Daley told reporters with Lee, 23, standing beside him. (China's Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen won silver and Aleksandr Bondar and Viktor Minibaev, of Russia, earned bronze.)

"I think this competition — we both visualized us winning and we believed that we could win. And every day, like laying in bed every day, I would visualize my dive over and over and over and over again with no mistakes," Daley said, "and it played out exactly how we had visualized it every single day."

For all that success, he partially credited raising son Robbie with screenwriter husband Dustin Lance Black.

He told PEOPLE fatherhood was a "massive turning point in my career as an athlete."

"Because I realized that whether I do really well or whether I do terribly in the pool, that I can go home to a husband and son that loves me regardless," he said. "And that feeling that and knowing that and knowing that that love is unconditional to go and stand on that diving board, I can take that pressure off of myself and I can actually enjoy it and be like, You know what, I'm doing this because I love to do it and how I dive in the pool doesn't define me."

"First and foremost, I'm a father and a husband," Daley said.

"Even with this whole 18-month period [during the pandemic] obviously, it's been very challenging for everyone. And I think everyone's perspective has changed a huge amount because you realize what matters most and that's that people are happy, healthy and your family are okay," he said.

In a post Black, 47, shared on Instagram of a message from Daley while he is in Japan, the latter thanked his husband and their son for that limitless love.

Tom Daley and Matty Lee
Tom Daley (right) and Matty Lee during the men's synchronized 10m platform diving event at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Monday
| Credit: Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images
Tom Daley
Tom Daley poses with the gold medal during the medal presentation for the men's synchronized 10m platform diving event at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Monday.
| Credit: Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

"The support from you guys has been what has been able to get me through some of my crazy days, some of my easy days, the highs and lows and everything in between," Daley said in the video.

And when he won his diving gold, with Black and his mother watching from Canada, Black leapt to the ground and didn't stop cheering.

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.