Awesome olympian of the day: Matthew Mitcham
Move over, Nastia, I have a new favorite person. That's Matthew Mitcham, the 20-year-old openly gay Australian diver who just won gold last night in a stunning upset over the heavily favored Chinese. I unfortunately missed his winning dive, apparently the highest scored in Olympic history, and for that I'm kicking myself. So I thought the least I could do now is give him a little shout-out on the blog.
In the semis two nights ago, Mitchem established himself as my favorite diver, mostly because he was the cutest one in the competition (I love Australians). He's also an exceptionally talented athlete. But I had no idea he was the only openly gay male athlete in the 2008 games. Major props for that. I mean, all the divers look gay, but you know... in athletics, that's not something you're open about. Unless you're Matt Mitcham, apparently.
There's actually a whole heartwarming story about how he nearly retired from the sport as a teenager due to problems reconciling his sexuality with his athletics, and then came back and trained hard to compete in Beijing. And then he won a GOLD medal (!!!) in the 10-meter final over the Chinese! And I missed it! WTF (luckily I caught it later online). But what's worse is that NBC never did any coverage of how he was gay, or what he went through in order to compete here. They just made some vague reference to "personal struggles." Lame. Big boooo to NBC. They cover European swimmers' love triangles, and volleyball players' struggles with early hair loss, but not this? Lame.
And when he won, it was SO emotional. Gotta love how the gays aren't afraid to cry. Lotsa waterworks. Big, shocking moment. Very touching.
Anyway, here's an interview with him afterward. Cute as a button:
Plus, he speaks French! How adorable:
UPDATE: Oh no! The video of him speaking French is gone! : ( But you can always watch the full 10-meter final on NBCOlympics.com by clicking here.
To see all Mitchum's semifinal dives, without having to sit through others (since they're not as hot as he is), click here.
Click here (courtesy of commenter Alison) to see video of all Mitchum's final round dives, as well as the medal ceremony, where he prances around gleefully with the flag and even climbs up the wall into the stands to kiss his boyfriend and his mom. If you listen closely, you can make out what sounds like him saying, "Am I allowed to go and hug my mum?" And then he does! Spot-on adorable. There's also a story on what his victory means for gay athletes everywhere. Highly recommended.
For more info on LGBT olympians, click here.
And for more pics of Mitcham to ogle, just look below: