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Gay Diver Wins Gold

Timothy Kincaid

August 23rd, 2008

The Chinese expectation of sweeping diving was thwarted by 20 year-old gay Australian Matthew Mitcham. From OutSports,

Mitcham’s win denied China a sweep of the the men’s and women’s diving gold medals. On his final dive, Mitcham to decided to go for broke, attempting a routine with a high degree of difficulty — a back 2 1/2 somersault with 2 1/2 twists. He nailed it and scored a stunning 112.10 points, getting perfect 10s from four of the seven judges.

Outsports and other gay news sites have been following Mitcham’s journey and while his victory is personal and for his country, many gay people are overjoyed to see the gold go to one of their own.

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Stefano A
August 23rd, 2008 | LINK

… many gay people are overjoyed to see the gold go to one of their own.

What? You’re not one of us now? ;)

Ok. Teasing aside…

The dive was fantastic! I think, not sure, that this is the highest score for a single dive in the history of the Olympics.

Also, as a side highlight, I think it’s also fabulous that the Sydney Morning Herald in their reporting have made it a point to mention Lachlan in almost all of their coverage.

One person who has been by his side for the entire tumultuous and now brilliant journey is his partner, Lachlan, who was in the crowd last night courtesy of a Johnson & Johnson Olympic sponsorship.

MSM almost always mentions the family’s of athletes so it was heartwarming to see the Hearld give Lachlan equal mention. (Of course, it was in the Herald where Mitcham initially mentioned Lachlan and how they were having trouble getting the funds for him to go to Beijing.

Anyway, I’m really happy for Mitcham. It’s been a real rollercoaster for him.

William
August 23rd, 2008 | LINK

Well done, Mitcham. Congratulations!

Regan DuCasse
August 23rd, 2008 | LINK

Although I basically LOVE the Olympics…I haven’t watched ANY of them this time.
Perhaps, this and other revelations of gay participants will eliminate the segregated Gay Games.
The Gay Games, at least proved that gay men and women can be and ARE, healthy, skilled…winners.
The locker room, the arena…are no place that encumbers anyone’s ability to perform or concentrate on winning.

Jesse Owens showed the world that the MYTH of Aryan superiority and supremacy…or world dominance were folly.
The heterosexual and similar ideal that they own athletic prowess and physical health and discipline is easily blown sky high and to Kingdom come by such athletes as Mitcham.

I know that the Gay Games is an arena where a gay person can and should be able to freely exhibit their expertise without worry of unfair judging or even assault. But it’s up to the IOC to maintain the zone of safety, fairness in competition and world cooperation that the Olympics is supposed to represent.
I would rather that the world learn to appreciate and embrace it’s gay athletes and support them because they ARE a part of all human cultures and always have been, no less than anyone else.
Congratulations to Mitcham, he embodies Pride in this definition and bless him and all the other young up and comers for their obvious merit in their sport.

tristram
August 23rd, 2008 | LINK

Matt’s the man! What an inspiration! For those of us who cheered for Greg Louganis – KNOWING what he could not then admit, this is a moment of validation and utter joy. Thanks, Matt, and may your courage and determination bring a life of blessings. Thanks also to Greg who found his voice and to all the out athletes in Beijing for showing us the real meaning of pride.

Jason D
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

as my partner, himself a former diver, just said, “I didn’t think they allowed straight people on the diving board.”
:P

And Regan, I don’t think the Gay Games is intended as segregation, there are tons of different international sport festivals. One thing to keep in mind is that some of these countries, unfortunately, won’t/don’t let their gay athletes compete openly if they let them compete at all. Sad to say some would rather not have a gay person represent their country.

Johno
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

It’s worth nothing that unlike the rest of the international press, NBC cut Matthew’s gayness out of their broadcast entirely. Despite giving a full biography of him (including his problems with depression,) as he began to show signs of placing for a medal, there was no mention that he was gay, and only one very brief shot of his partner in the stands, in a group shot mixed in with all of Matthew’s other family. They also quickly cut away to commercial after the win, right before he hugged his partner.

This was done despite NBC reporting on every aspect of other athlete’s personal lives during the entire two weeks of broadcasting; including tacky love triangles, wives, children, parents, religious affiliation, long stories of how family members struggled to be together at the games (similar to the Johnson & Johnson story,) etc. And it was done despite the newsworthiness of Matthew being the first openly gay athlete to win gold.

Also the segment was not broadcast live; the surprise upset was no surprise to NBC by the time it went on the air; it had to have been edited for time and “other considerations.”

Priya Lynn
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

Here’s a cuter picture of him:

http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/beijing/blog/fourth_place_medal/post/Openly-gay-diver-wins-gold?urn=oly,102974

Oh yeah, he’s gay all right.

Stefano A
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

Yes, Johno, that’s very much worth mentioning!!!

Fortunately other news coverage outlets are not as homophobic as the US…

Video of Matthew Mitcham talking outside the diving arena after winning the gold medal, flanked by his mom, Vivienne, and his partner, Lachlan Fletcher.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tm33-KoxXA

Outsports, in their coverage, has also posted an interview video.

Rick Brentlinger
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

Stefano A-

Thanks for the YouTube link – great work finding that and making it available.

Rick

Stefano A
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

You’re welcome!

tristram
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

For those who can’t get enough, here are some articles and more video of MM. I’m not sure I can make this a link, but you can cut and paste. If all else fails, you can check the outsports.com home page. In addition to Stefano’s youtube clip, there’s a link to a 16-minute video of all Matt’s last-round dives, the post-comp hugfest and the medal ceremony.

http://outsports.com/olympics2008/2008/08/24/matthew-mitcham-talks-with-partner-at-side/

Stefano A
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

One of the things that has impressed me about Mitcham is the way he handles himself in interviews. Even when interviewed by the gay press he has exhibited great diplomatic skills. I was first impressed by that in an interview he did with Austrial gay press mag SX in early July.

The way he answered a question about two homophobic women with his anecdotal response demonstrated for me why he’s such a good role model. At the age of 20 he has a remarkably cognizant sense of self and place in the world and a gracious demeaner.

http://sxnews.e-p.net.au/feature/making-a-splash-3371-2.html

“That’s a really uneducated, unworldly view,” he replies. “And you know what? Straight people talk about their sexuality all the time. They talk about the opposite sex, they talk about their wives, their husbands, their marriage. Those are all heterosexual discourses, and they do talk about them all the time. So those ladies didn’t think their comments through very well.”

tristram
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

Stephano A – what a great article. Thanks! MM is truly and impressive guy.

Johno
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

oops, that was supposed to be worth “noting” not worth nothing.

tristram
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

I too wish that NBC had mentioned that Matt was gay, but I still think their commentators did a good job of crediting him for his talent and performance. And they got some great shots of his dives and his reaction at the end. Below is the link to their hi quality video of the entire 10m platform finals. Go to the 25 min. mark if you want to see Matt’s last dive and the aftermath. And on the sidebar is a link to the medal ceremony – with the post-ceremony activities right through the part where he climbs the rail and embraces his mom and Lachlan. Check it out!
http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/player.html?assetid=0823_hd_dvm_en184r7&channelcode=sportdv

Regan DuCasse
August 28th, 2008 | LINK

Between Matt, his mother and his boyfriend. I saw a trio of remarkably good looking folks.
His mother is quite striking and his BF is HOT!

The kid is blessed. Hope we see more of him in London, 2012!

Emily K
August 28th, 2008 | LINK

I’m someone who doesn’t think the word “gay” needs to be mentioned. If they show his boyfriend, or acknowledge his boyfriend, that is enough. That is what they would do for a straight diver. That is equality.

Johno
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

Emily, NBC did show show or acknowledge his boyfriend. And considering it was a historic story that had run wild in the Australian press, it should have been mentioned. NBC mentioned every tawdry love-triangle and bawdy tabloid story about every single Australian swimmer during the Phelps coverage. The point is they did more, much more for straight athletes and the people cheering for them all the way through the games.

Today I read that one of the directors for NBC olympics made a formal apology to Mitchum for omitting his story. An admission of “unintentional” wrongdoing. They know their coverage of him was not as “equal” as it was for everyone else.

http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24254658-5001021,00.html

Johno
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

“did not show” (sigh)

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