Australia's Matthew Mitcham is set to
have his Olympic diving debut in Beijing Monday. Mitcham, who has
become the 2008 Olympic darling since he “mistakenly” came out,
will compete in the 3m springboard event.
Mitcham came out in May when The
Sydney Morning Herald asked whom he lived with. “I hadn't
planned to do it all,” Mitcham told the Advocate. “It was
just a question and it went from there.”
“Matthew Mitcham is an awesome
diver,” said Australian teammate Robert Newbery who is betting on
Mitcham to win the gold.
The twenty-year-old diver has been
competing since the age of 11. But he gave up the sport for six
months two years ago when health issues and a heavy academic load
overwhelmed the athlete.
“I had too much on my plate,” he
told the Advocate. “Going to the Olympics was always a
dream of mine, even winning a medal, but at the time my personal
needs far outweighed the desire.”
At the start of 2007 – partied out
and with new boyfriend, Lachlan, in tow – he returned to diving at
the prestigious Sydney Aquatic Center.
The break payed off big time. In
January, Mitcham broke records by becoming the first Australian to
win the 1m, 3m and 10m springboard titles. Then in May, he shocked
the world by winning the 10m platform event at the USA Grand Prix in
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. On his fourth dive he scored four perfect 10s.
Mitcham's time in the limelight has
been tempered since he arrived at the Olympics. Athletes are kept in
a semi-quarantined state in the Olympic village far from the press
until after they have competed. But you can reach Mitcham and text
him a message of encouragement at the International Federation of Gay
While Mitcham is set to debut at the
Olympics in the 3m springboard event, audiences will need to wait
till Friday to see his dazzling 10m springboard.
On the net: International Federation of
Gay Games website is at www.gaygames.com.
Advocate's cover story on Mitcham can be found at www.advocate.com.