Changing China

Giant on the move

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Snapshot Beijing, 4: The greatest dive in Olympic history


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.

Story of day 15: Mitcham’s amazing dive


Mitcham dives

Matthew Mitcham did two surprising things in Beijing. He scooped a gold medal from the apparently invincible Chinese diving team and told anyone who asked that he is gay.

Mitcham broke down in tears after a nearly perfect last dive edged him above the Chinese favourite into top place. It was the eighth and last medal in a sport that the host nation utterly dominates and was expected to sweep.