Category Archives: sport

Federer Makes History

Finally. Finally Roger Federer steps into a league of his own. His defeat of Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final 16-14 in the final set won him his fifteenth Grand Slam title, restored him as world no.1 and gave him the world record for the greatest number of Grand Slam wins, finally stepping out from Pete Sampras’ very long shadow. I for one couldn’t be more thrilled. He’s finally won the French Open, is still operating at this level after six consecutive years, and is now by any statistical measure the greatest tennis player ever. Here’s how he got there:

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Where to now? Will Sampras be proven right? Eighteen Slams? Nineteen Slams? How wonderful that the man with such a delightful game, can now play for the fun of it. History’s been defeated.

Matthew Mitcham at Mardi Gras!

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Out gay Australian Olympic diving champion Matthew Mitcham led off this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras parade. I have no further commentary. With photos like these, I’ll leave that to you…;)

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Matthew Mitcham – Sponsored!

Questions have for some time been asked about why out gay Olympic diving champion Matthew Mitcham hadn’t yet secured a sponsorship deal since his historic triumph in Beijing. Well it appears he’s finally succeeded, and announced his deal with typical grace and honesty:

Mitcham’s year-long contract with Telstra is a “relief” for the diver who has struggled to attract interest from the corporate world despite his perfect-10 dive in Beijing.

He blames the current economic crisis rather than his sexuality for the sponsorship drought but is grateful Telstra has backed him.

“I was a little bit worried… so hopefully this will be a snowball effect, but I don’t want to count my chickens,” he said.

“If I can get the opportunity where I would be able to train without having to worry about paying the bills, that would be the ultimate goal.”

While refusing to reveal the dollar amount of the deal, Mitcham said it would be a “significant” help – without which he would find it difficult to continue the 11-session a week training schedule needed for the 2012 London Games.

Mitcham will represent Telstra at events and product launches, with the company describing him as a “positive role model for all Australians”.

Matt promptly then cleaned up at the Australian diving championships last weekend:

Matthew Mitcham, in his first competition since winning gold at the Olympics, won four diving titles at this weekend’s Australian diving championships. Mitcham won individual titles in the 10-meter platform and 1- and 3-meter springboard and teamed up with Grant Nel to win the 3-meter synchronized. Mitcham, who turned 21 on March 2, was phenomenal on the 3-meter spingboard, getting six 10’s in amassing 548.95 points. This was significant in that this was a higher total for his 10-meter platform dives, which had been his specialty.

Gratuitous Matthew Mitcham

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more beautiful man. Have you? (Photos by John McRae except where stated)

For those of you who aren’t avid readers of this blog, this is Matthew Mitcham, 20 year old Aussie diving gold medallist at the Beijing Olympics last summer. Matt’s now an honest-to-goodness gay icon, having come back from burn-out to coming out before the Games and then coming from behind to produce the highest ranked dive in Olympic history on his last jump. Whilst his example should inspire us all, I wanted to give you this post for far less noble reasons. Can you guess what they are?

And I’m sorry it’s not an umblemished original, but I couldn’t resist adding it. Those eyes! That smile!

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And what about Myles Formby’s work?

Matthew Mitcham to Lead Mardi Gras

Oh what I’d give to attend the next Sydney Mardi Gras…

Openly-gay Olympic gold medallist and Australian Sports Performer of the Year, Matthew Mitcham, will be leading next year’s Mardi Gras Parade.

Mitcham said he was honoured to be asked to lead the parade.

“Mardi Gras has an illustrious history and I’m really proud to now be part of that,” he said.

“There is such a huge buzz in the city on Parade night and it really does bring the whole city together. I am really excited to be right in the middle of the action.”

New Mardi Gras Chair David Imrie said Matthew’s story is an inspiration to the community.

“His comeback to elite sport following burn-out to create one of the most magical moments in Australian Olympic history made him the obvious choice for this year’s Parade.”

“Matthew’s recent success in being voted Sports Performer of the year was a testament to his talent and hard work. It was also one of the most encouraging signs that Australia is a place where you can be openly gay without it limiting your opportunities.”

(source)

Award-Winning Matthew Mitcham!

Where do you start with the accolades for Matthew Mitcham? Greatest diving Olympian in history? One of the greatest gay role models in modern times? Well he’s got a new one: winner of the top prize at the Sports Performer Awards in Australia.

Despite his win in Beijing however, he still doesn’t have a corporate sponsor. No, I don’t understand it either. Is it homophobia or something else? His awards win brings $50,000 with it, but nothing ongoing:

Despite being the first Australian male to win a diving gold medal for 84 years, Mitcham has since discovered that producing that record-breaking dive “hasn’t been a financial goldmine”.

“It’s not a sport that flush with huge dollars,” said David Lyall, from Mitcham’s management group, Grand Slam International. “A lot of the general public seem to think you win a gold medal and people are knocking down the door to sponsor you.”

One possible explanation, unfortunately, for the lack of interest is that Mitcham is openly gay, although Lyall said the diver’s sexuality had “never come up in discussions” with prospective sponsors.

Should that be true then companies such as Aussiebums are making a terrible mistake. Everyone I know is aware of Matt, looks up to him, and as such should be immediate targets for lifestyle marketing through sponsorship of him. The example he has shown is unlike any I’ve seen – coming back from physical and emotional burnout to triumph at the Beijing Olympics, coming from behind with his very last jump, to produce the highest scoring dive in Olympic history aged only 20. But it was the way he followed that triumph up – with good humour and humility, and being openly affectionate with his boyfriend, which cemented his position in people’s hearts. I would encourage any potential sponsors to take Matt on – the good he can do for future generations as an out-gay gold medal Olympian is almost unlimited.

More Matthew Mitcham

I think it’s safe to say that after last week, gold medallist diver Matt Mitcham has graduated from gay icon to outright superstar, and it’s fascinating to see. I have seen a number of bloggers complaining about his attention, that his sexual orientation is and should be irrelevant, that his gold medal win was somehow run of the mill and that his story didn’t matter. I couldn’t agree less – he deserves all of the attention he’s continuing to generate because he’s allowed us to get to know him and share his journey. Not only did he come back from a premature retirement from diving in his late teens, but he suffered from depression and anxiety too, before he took the massive step of coming out publicly (risking his sponsorship) and going to the Olympics as the only out gay male competitor in the world. All this at only 20 years of age. And when he won, with the highest scoring dive in Olympic history, he displayed unimaginable grace and good humour. It was the culmination of a remarkable and engaging story which has rightly captivated the attention of fans worldwide.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Coming out publicly, that was a first,” said Vivien (his mother). “The highest score awarded to an Olympic dive ever, another first. How many more firsts can this child get? Can you find something else to be first in? He’s just done so well. He deserves it.”

Just as he has shown flipping around at 10 metres high, Mitcham has shown no fear about disclosing his sexuality. He was the first Australian athlete to go to an Olympics openly gay.

Carefully nursing Mitcham’s Olympic bouquet, (his boyfriend Lachlan )Fletcher spoke of the incredible journey that the diver had taken to the top. Fletcher has been the one constant over the past two years.

He was his rock when Mitcham retired in his late teenage years suffering anxiety and depression. He watched him become a stunt diver at the Sydney Royal Easter show, supported his fight back into the sport and now to win Olympic gold.

I find it hard to express the extent of my admiration for his having overcome such hurdles, whilst remaining so thoroughly himself at the very highest level of his sport. There are precious few out gay people in sports, and as I mentioned in my previous post about him, the example he’ll undoubtedly provide to younger people, both gay and straight is monumental. It took me until this year to find another gay man my age whom I could look up to as an example of the type of person I wanted to be, and it’s exciting to think how many lives Matthew could influence positively by his example. Long may he and Lachlan stay as cute as they are too! Speaking of whom…

Here they are eating Golden Gaytimes. Perhaps the irony can be seen in their cheeky expressions…? An Aussiebums ad featuring Matthew has also come up in the last couple of days. Enjoy!