Changing China

Giant on the move

Snapshot Beijing, 4: The greatest dive in Olympic history

August 25, 2008

Mitcham dives

The Water Cube was almost silent as a slight blonde man who two years earlier was not even diving leapt off the ten metre platform, twisted and somersaulted through the air and slid into the water with just the slightest of splashes.

Matthew Mitcham resurfaced to an explosion of applause and as the judges’ scores came up his smile of delight dissolved into tears of disbelief.

He had snatched a medal gold from the Chinese favourites with just one, perfect dive.

For the next hour the Australian looked how I always imagined Olympic gold medalists should — overwhelmed with disbelief and delight.

In some ways it was incredible Mitcham was even in Beijing, much less topping the podium. He had battled depression and burnout, retired and come back before he turned twenty. And shortly before he came to Beijing he went public about his sexuality, the only openly gay male athlete at the Olympics.

I felt sorry for the Chinese diver who came second. But after watching his team mates take the other seven medals, some apparently more relieved to have done their duty than excited about the result, it was an unforgettable upset.

Kevin Fylan adds: This is the fourth in our series of snapshots from the Beijing Games, where Reuters reporters give their thoughts on what it was like to be there at the key moments of the Olympics.

Read Snapshot Beijing, 1: Matt Emmons, by Erik Kirschbaum here.

Read Snapshot Beijing, 2: Matthias Steiner, by Sophie Hardach here.

Read Snapshot Beijing, 3: Usain Bolt, by Paul Majendie here.

More to follow over the course of the day.

PHOTO: Matthew Mitcham of Australia competes in the men’s 10m platform diving final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 23, 2008. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Comments

I salute Matthew Mitcham as a hero of the Gay Nation. How fortunate that Australia has such talent and leadership. Gay Youth around the planet desperately need masculine leaders to inspire them to become leaders. As an American, I am ashamed that not one member of our Olympic team had the sportsmanship and machismo to provide leadership to our Gay Sons. Although I do not know how many members of our team were Gay, there must have been many.
The concentration camp, the mental prison of the closet must be destroyed! In the race for president of these god-awful United States, Ralph Nader is one of the candidates in the general election. Ralph Nader is Gay, and there must be a campaign to force him out of the closet!
My site: http://GayNation.INFO has articles about Gay Marriage, Barack Obama, and a user posting system!

 

Congratulations to Matt Mitcham on an outstanding performance! As for Ralph Nader, I will respect whatever decisions he has made.

Posted by Kevin Wotipka | Report as abusive
 

I was watching the diving competition unaware that matt was gay. What an inspiration to gay teenagers around the world. More than likely there were a few other gay guys in the diving competition…. Just sad that they cant be themselves and follow Matts example

Posted by chris wallace | Report as abusive
 

a review of handover of beijing to london

http://olympicsbeijingtolondon.blogspot. com/

 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •