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Today’s GLBT History Month Icon: Olympic Diver Matthew Mitcham

Today’s GLBT History Month Icon: Olympic Diver Matthew Mitcham

Today’s GLBT History Month icon is Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham. Born March 2, 1988, Mitcham won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with a record-breaking dive. While continuing in his diving career and training for the 2012 Olympics, Mitcham has also become an advocate for LGBT rights, youth and bullying prevention.

From Equality Forum:

Australian diver Matthew Mitcham is one of the few openly gay Olympic athletes. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Mitcham won a Gold Medal after executing the highest-scoring dive in Olympic history.

Mitcham grew up in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He competed as a trampoline gymnast before being discovered by a diving coach. By the time he was 14, Mitcham was a national junior champion in diving. A few years later, he won medals in the World Junior Diving Championships.

In 2006, after battling anxiety and depression, Mitcham decided to retire from diving. The following year, Mitcham returned to diving and began training for the Olympics.

In Beijing, Mitcham won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 10-meter platform dive. After his Olympic triumph, he leaped into the stands to hug and kiss his partner, Lachlan Fletcher. It was the first time in over 80 years that an Australian male diver struck Olympic Gold. 

Mitcham was the first out Australian to compete in the Olympics. There were only 11 openly gay athletes out of a total of over 11,000 competitors competing in Beijing.

In 2008, Mitcham was chosen 2008 Sports Performer of the Year by the Australian public. Australia GQ named him Sportsman of the Year. After accepting the GQ award, Mitcham joked, “Oh, my God, I’m a homo and I just won the sports award!”

Mitcham competed in the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne. He is studying at Sydney University and training for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

“I look at the last 20 years as a long, winding path of lessons and some hardship,” Mitcham said in 2008. “I hope I do have more lessons to learn. I look forward to that.”

Here is a video of Mitcham, his mother and his partner Lachlan, following his win at the Beijing Olympics:

Mitcham has just competed in the Commonwealth Games and won four silver medals. Click here for more information.

Bibliography:

  • Buzinski, Jim. “Olympic Diver is Openly Gay.” Outsports.com. 1 June 2010.
  • Fonseca, Nicolas. “Matt’s Next Act.” The Advocate. 1 June 2010.
  • Halloran, Jessica. “Out, Proud and Ready to Go for Gold.” Sydney Morning Herald. 1 June 2010.
  • Jensen, Michael. “Catching up with Matthew Mitcham.” AfterElton.com. 1 June 2010.


Videos of Matthew Mitcham:


Websites:


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17 comments

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10:42AM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

Soon it will be compulsory to be homosexual.Gay means happy,,joyful, laughter etc.

11:04PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

ya know , I come from brisbane Queensland , and I didn't know Matt was gay, and furthermore I didn't care, and neither di/ does the media here,, Whats wrong with Americans, you all seem to be fixated about gender...people are people!! , the only place gays are not accepted is in muslim countries where they get the death penalty!! why arent you addressing THOSE issues?

9:04PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

Mat is awsome

6:49PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

How cute. XD

5:07PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

Thanks.

3:37PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

What a cutie! Very well expressed and charming interview. Go, Matthew!

1:04PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

How adorable is he?! I'll tell ya where the other thousand or so missing gay Olympic athletes are. They are at the games, hiding what they feel inside so as to not upset their families, coaches, fans, and above all their chances of getting mad cash from endorsements and cereal boxes and whatnot. Cowardly, but that's how many of us were raised. Luckily Matthew's mother raised him better.

10:55AM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

Beautiful!

9:17AM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

Hooray for him and may he be a champion against bully ing for along time to come.

9:07AM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

: )

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