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Tom Daley makes history by being named in Team GB diving team for Paris Olympics

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Tom Daley makes history by being named in Team GB diving team for Paris Olympics

Tom Daley, who made his Olympic debut aged 14 in Beijing in 2008, will be 30 when he competes in Paris this summer

Tom Daley, who made his Olympic debut aged 14 in Beijing in 2008, will be 30 when he competes in Paris this summer© Provided by The Telegraph

Tom Daley will become the first British diver to compete at five Olympics after being officially selected for Paris this summer, exactly 16 years after reaching his first Games at the age of 14.

Daley had stood down from competitive diving after winning a gold and a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 but announced his comeback last year and has since formed a new partnership with Noah Williams.

The pair won World Championship silver in January and, with Daley’s Tokyo partner Matty Lee currently injured, were formally selected on Monday as Team GB’s representatives in the 10m synchronised event. 

They will dive together in the Paris Olympics test event this week and, although the Chinese pair Hao Yang and Junjie Lian are the gold medal favourites, Daley has been one of the few divers to consistently challenge China’s dominance over the past decade. His gold with Lee in Tokyo was the only Olympic diving event that China did not win.

Daley decided last year that he would return following encouragement from his son Robbie, but has shown no obvious dip in his fitness and form during a comeback that has also included a World Cup win.

He has chosen to remain based in Los Angeles but is back working with long-time coach Jane Figueiredo and has been linking up with Williams on a regular basis this year during competition.

Daley also won bronze in the 10m individual platform in Tokyo but will focus on the synchronised event in Paris as part of what is arguably Britain’s strongest ever diving team.

In the women’s 10m synchronised, Lois Toulson, who will be competing at her third Olympics, and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix will combine following podium finishes at the last two World Championships. 

That recent World Championship success has been matched by Team GB’s women’s three-metre synchronised Paris pairing Yasmin Harper and Scarlett Mew-Jensen.

The 2016 Olympic champion Jack Laugher is also going for this fourth-straight Games after making his debut at London 2012 and will be partnered in the three metre synchronised by debutant Anthony Harding. 

“There is a fantastic mix of youth and experience within the squad, and I am delighted to welcome Olympic Champions Jack and Tom back,” said chef de mission Mark England. “Congratulations to Tom in particular who becomes the first British diver to compete at five Olympic Games – a remarkable achievement.” 

Story by Jeremy Wilson: The Telegraph: 

Inside the Met Gala: A fairytale forest, woodland creatures, and some starstuck first-timers

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Inside the Met Gala: A fairytale forest, woodland creatures, and some starstuck first-timers

APTOPIX 2024 MET Museum Costume Institute Benefit Gala:

Sauntering through the hallways of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the way to cocktails, James Corden spread his arms out comically, like he owned the place. “Let me know if you want me to talk you through any of this,” he said, pointing to the precious art on the walls, joking around with Jeff Bezos and his partner Lauren Sánchez, who happened to be walking behind him.

It was all in fun, but Corden, like many celebrities, is a Met Gal a regular.

Then there are the first-timers. These guests, no matter how famous in their field, often profess a bit of starstruck wonder at the concentration of celebrity around them, and even some nerves, like a kid arriving at a new school.

For example: Stray Kids. The K-pop band arrived at their first gala en masse, all eight dressed by designer Tommy Hilfiger in different iterations of red, navy and white. Entering the museum they ascended the grand interior staircase, hit the receiving line, and then headed to cocktails, where, they said, they slowly started to relax.

“We were nervous at first.” said band number Bang Chan. “We didn’t know what to expect, who we would meet,” added bandmate Felix. But they were settling in nicely, and had already spoken to Chris Hemsworth, Steven Yeun, and Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons.

Then there was Ayo Edebiri, star of “The Bear,” who has been a multiple winner on the awards circuit this year but was attending her first gala. She seemed almost out of breath after greeting hosts Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny, Hemsworth and Anna Wintour at the top of the staircase.

“I’m really, really, really excited to be here,” she said. “This is another really beautiful thing that I will try to do my best to remember.”

Some other memorable moments and scenes from inside the gala:

A MAGICAL FOREST

Though the name of the gala's accompanying exhibit was “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” it wasn't really about Princess Aurora from our fairytales. Rather, it was about highlighting and illuminating fragile garments from the museum’s collection that were now being “awakened” to the world. Still, it’s safe to say the museum went all in on the fairytale vibe.

Entering the Great Hall, guests passed a huge centerpiece, 32 feet tall, representing a “whimsical tree.” Huge green flowers made of fabric sprouted over a forest-like undergrowth with twisted branches that looked just like the foliage Sleeping Beauty’s prince had to hack through to give her a true love's kiss. Guests then walked through a live string orchestra and a tableau of performers dressed as woodland creatures — in tunics and tights — frolicking in the forest.

FASHION AS ART

Given the choice of viewing the exhibit or heading straight to cocktails, most guests chose the latter. But some did head to the show, a multi-sensory fashion experience involving not only sight but sound, smell and touch. Lena Waithe spent time alone inspecting the garments, and said she was “just blown away by the work that I’m seeing.”

The actor/producer added that she, as many, often thinks of fashion as fun and light. “But then I come here and am reminded that it’s an art form,” she said. And she recalled a speech Meryl Streep, as a Wintour-like character, makes to Anne Hathaway in “The Devil Wears Prada," about the clothes we wear having been chosen for us. “I think we need to be reminded of that, that our style is influenced by people who are long gone,” Waithe said.

SETH MEYERS STAYS IN HIS LANE

Late-night host Meyers, attending the gala with wife, said it was a nice break to get an evening away from childcare. But he also jokingly asked why his little ones — ages 8, 6 and 2 — weren’t invited. “I think it’s very rude that Vogue didn't invite them,” Meyers quipped. “It's so kid-friendly here. And they're so good at keeping their mitts off things.”

Meyers said what he most enjoyed abut the gala was seeing “a lot of people that I'm a fan of, or have interviewed on the show.” But as for fashion, he likes to play it straight, he said: ”Nobody wants a guy like me taking a big swing. I stay in my lane."

THE BROADWAY CROWD

There’s always a strong Broadway contingent at the Met Gala, because Wintour is a huge theater fan. At this gala, Jonathan Groff, fresh off a Tony nomination for “Merrily We Roll Along,” laughed and joked with good friend and fellow “Glee” alum (and “Funny Girl" star) Lea Michele, expecting her second child and resplendent in baby blue Rodarte. Groff reminisced about former Met Galas he’s attended, including one where he performed from the show “Hair,” and another in 2016 where guest Beyoncé had just released “Lemonade” about a week earlier. “That," he recalled, “was epic.”

LITTLE ME WOULD BE SO HAPPY’

A table away sat another Broadway star, J. Harrison Ghee. Last year Ghee attended their first gala, a month or so before winning the Tony for best actor in “Some Like it Hot.” Ghee wore a dramatic feathered look by designer Howie B inspired, they said, by a caddis worm — perfectly in sync with the nature theme of the evening. The night, Ghee said, was proof that fashion was a vital and expressive art. And they added that “Little me would be so happy. I check in with them all the time — would they be proud? They would.”

A DRESS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS (BROKEN) PARTS

As Sánchez and Bezos toured the exhibit, her distinctive dress made an equally distinctive noise as it scraped across the floor. “We won’t lose you,” joked Bezos. Sánchez said she had burst into tears when she first tried on the eye-popping design by Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim of Oscar de la Renta. The voluminous skirt had pearl and mirrored appliques and was meant to evoke Tiffany glass. “If you need a mirror just use my dress,” Sánchez quipped. She added that she felt the dress symbolized life — where everything is a bit broken, and it depends on what you do with the pieces. And she was misty-eyed when she described trying the dress on for Bezos: "He told me I had never looked so beautiful,” she said.

Fun fact: Sánchez said Garcia had told her he needed an item to fix the dress, and had ordered it on Amazon.

A CLARION CALL TO DINNER

How do you get hundreds of chatting celebrities to hike across the museum for dinner? Organizers have tried a number of ways. One year, it was a team of buglers. Another year, Jon Batiste and his melodica led a band snaking through the crowd. Last year, David Byrne did the honors. On Monday it was a huge choir that emerged, singing original music entitled “Future of Us," accompanied by dancers. Then a bell rang, and the performers called out: “To dinner!” And off the crowd went — slowly — to the Temple of Dendur, where the fairytale motif continued with tables featuring “enchanted candelabras entwined with flower arrangements.”

WHAT’S TO EAT?

Arriving late is still fashionable; Some guests were still arriving at 9 p.m. and even much later. But for those who made it for dinnertime, here’s what was on the menu: a main course of filet of beef, pea tortellini, morels and spring vegetables, followed by a dessert of petits fours inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairytale of, yep, “Sleeping Beauty” — along with confections “in the shape of bespoke hats."

From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate – The Independent has a host of free newsletters to suit your interests. To find the stories you want to read, and more, in your inbox, click here.

Story by Jocelyn Noveck: The Independent:  

Miss USA Noelia Voigt resigns from role after seven months over mental health concerns

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Miss USA Noelia Voigt resigns from role after seven months over mental health concerns 

Pageant queen Noelia Voigt has resigned from her position as Miss USA, after just seven months, in an attempt to prioritise her mental health.

The 24-year-old model won the annual beauty pageant last year as Miss Utah, before representing the United States in the Miss Universe competition in November.

On Monday (6 May), Voigt shared news of her resignation with her fans and followers with a text post on social media.

“In life, I strongly value the importance of making decisions that feel best for you and your mental health,” her statement begins.

“As individuals, we grow through experiencing different things in life that lead us to learning more about ourselves.

“My journey as Miss USA has been incredibly meaningful, representing Utah with pride, and later the USA at Miss Universe.

“Sadly, I have made the very tough decision to resign from the title of Miss USA 2023.”

Voigt continues by noting her moments of pride throughout her seven-month reign as Miss USA, including advocating for anti-bullying schemes and working with the left palette correction charity Smile Train.

She also noted her gratitude in being able to shed light “on my roots as the first Venezuelan-American woman to win Miss USA”. 

“Never could I have imagined the journey that my childhood dream would take me on,” Voigt continues.

“Constant and consistent hard work and dedication all lead me to where I am today, and I hope that over the last seven years of competing in pageantry and sharing my journey with you all is something that inspires you to never give up on your dreams, whatever they may be.”

She concluded her message by expressing her hope that others “remain steadfast, prioritise your mental health, advocate for yourself and others by using your voice, and never be afraid of what the future holds, even if it feels uncertain”.

In a statement provided to NBC News, organisers of the pageant stated that they accepted Voigt’s decision to step down.

“We respect and support former Miss USA Noelia Voigt’s decision to step down from her duties,” a spokesperson said. “The well-being of our titleholders is a top priority, and we understand her need to prioritise herself at this time.”

Noelia Voigt at Miss Universe 2023 (Getty Images)© Provided by The Independent

In 2022, the pageant community was devastated by the suicide of Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst, who died in New York City, aged 30.

At the time, the Miss Universe and Miss USA organisations described her as “one of the brightest, warmest, and most kind people we have ever had the privilege of knowing”.

“Our entire community mourns her loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time,” the statement read. 

Story by Nicole Vassell: The Independent:  

Brittney Griner still adjusting after Russian prison ordeal. WNBA star details experience in book

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Brittney Griner still adjusting after Russian prison ordeal. WNBA star details experience in book

Mercury Griner's Journey Basketball:

Brittney Griner continues her efforts to settle into a normal routine following her release from a Russian prison 17 months ago.

Life isn't what it once was for the perennial WNBA All-Star. It may never be.

The 6-foot-8 center looks different and has different priorities. Gone are her familiar dreadlocks that couldn't be maintained during her incarceration. She regularly sees a therapist to help her cope after being imprisoned for 10 months. And since her release, Griner has been an advocate for the return of other Americans being detained overseas.

She has met with President Joe Biden twice since her release, including once last month in Phoenix.

“Got to talk to him about a couple of people and just keep it on the forefront of everyone’s mind,” the Phoenix Mercury star said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “You want to get exposure and that keeps it on the forefront of people’s minds, Keep people accountable.”

Griner was detained at a Moscow airport in February 2022. Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis.

She shares details about the harrowing experience in her new book — “Coming Home” — which comes out Tuesday.

Griner hopes one takeaway for anyone who reads the book will be a vivid picture of what detainees have to endure. She said it's why it took her all of last season to write it with Michelle Burford.

“I didn’t leave anything out from the detainment, to being over there, the conditions. As much as we could fit into a book, we basically did,” Griner said. “People will be shocked at some of the things.

"I hope it brings a little bit more of an understanding to the conditions that detainees go through.”

Griner says it is important people have a clear picture of what it's like for those Americans not home yet, including Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, so that no one gives up the fight. 

“It took everyone to come together to bring me home,” she said. Government officials "have to make really hard decisions.”

Griner, who first met President Biden at the White House Correspondent's dinner in 2023 a few months after her return to the U.S., said she and her WNBA teammates must keep the momentum going to get everyone home.

“How are we going to do it? Bringing in families, playing videos, give them airtime?" she said. "Maybe someone that doesn’t know, sees (the book) and they write a letter to congress that tips over the scale to get someone home.”

Griner said her days of playing basketball overseas during the WNBA offseason are over.

Though many WNBA players still play in international leagues to supplement their league salaries, Griner said she is done, except with USA Basketball. She hopes to be on the Olympic team at the Paris Games this summer, and the odds are in her favor that will happen.

Griner had played in China for a few years during the WNBA offseason, before making the move to Russia — where she had played since 2015 before her arrest.

It’s not just her ordeal in Russia, however, that is going to keep her home. Griner's wife, Cherelle, is expecting the couple’s first child.

“The only time I’ll go overseas is with Team USA,” Griner said. “I need to be in the states. About to be a parent. Last thing I want to do is be in and out of my kid’s life. I want to be there for everything. I don’t want to uproot my family and take them overseas with me. It’s too much.”

Griner, who has been an advocate for mental health for the past decade, said she sees a therapist regularly — something she did for several years before she went to Russia — and it helps her process what she endured while in prison.

“They are instrumental to my mental health,” Griner said about her sessions. “Everyone can benefit from having someone to talk to. Someone outside of their every day life. It just helps to have a different perspective on life from someone.

"That way if you do feel nervous or struggling with something, it’s very beneficial.”

The 33-year-old took a mental health break for several days last year during the WNBA season, missing three games. She'll begin her 12th year in the league May 14.

Griner is looking forward to it after the welcome she received in her return last year. One of the only positives that Griner will take away from her ordeal was the outpouring of support she received from people in the form of letters they wrote to her in prison.

“The letters were amazing from the fans, teammates, opponents, GMs, they all meant so much to me,” she said. “It was very dark at times, especially going through the trial. When I was in isolation for weeks, it was an emotional rollercoaster and those letters made me remember that I wasn't forgotten.”

Story by Doug Feinberg: The Independent 

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