Olympic diving champion, Matthew Mitcham, said in an interview in Sydney that he’s happy in his role as an icon for the LGBT community.
Matthew Mitcham, 24, came out shortly before the Beijing Olympics. There he won the 10 metre platform competition, in the process achieveing the highest ever single dive score in the history of the games. His global popularity was assured.
In a chat with the Sydney Morning Herald, he said: “I certainly don’t see it as a burden… I never did, especially with how much attention the LGBT cause has been getting lately with marriage equality…and with how few openly gay sports stars there are around at the moment.”
“Ideally,” he added, “I would like one day for sexuality to be as unimportant and uninteresting as hair color, or eye color or even just gender in general. One day it will get to that… But until it is easy for sports people to come out without fear of persecution or fear of lost sponsorship income and stuff like that, or fear of being comfortable in the team environment, I don’t mind attention being brought to my sexuality in the hope that it might make other people feel more comfortable…in being comfortable enough about who they are in their sporting environment.”
Though his training programme has suffered through injuries since his appearance at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, perfect scores from all seven judges on one of his dives at the Australian trials suggests he may be well back to form ahead of the London Olympics..
“Good on yer, Matthew,” says Lustralboy. And, of course, we'll be keeping an eye on his mate, Britain's Tom Daley, in the same competition.
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