Gay Olympian Matthew Mitcham will not retire from diving
The Olympic champion is planning to be a springboard diver and wants his 'thighs as big as [China's] He Chong's' for Rio 2016
After narrowly missing out on a place in the diving final yesterday (11 August), it looked like it would be the last time we would see gay Australian athlete Matthew Mitcham at the Olympics.
Not a chance, as the 24-year-old is now considering reinventing himself as a springboard diver, primarily to reduce the impact on his battered body.
Speaking to Australian newspaper Sydney Morning Herald, he said: ‘Before coming to London, I’d pretty much decided that this was going to be my last Olympics.
‘I was going to retire, just because of all the injuries and everything. I couldn’t see it getting any better, just how wearing 10m is on the body, but once I got here, all bets were off.’
Mitcham does have experience as a springboard diver, but says he was always primarily performing on the 10m height.
He said: ‘I’ve always been a platform diver and done springboard either to fill spots, or just because I was sort of semi-OK at it.
‘But I have been in discussion with Chava my coach about the possibility of becoming solely a springboard diver. I’m not really going to take a holiday when I get home – I’m actually going to start working on the strength required to be a springboard diver straight away.
‘Because it’s going to take a long time to get my thighs as big as [China’s] He Chong’s.’
Mitcham has seen his profile rise as one of only three gay male athletes competing at the London 2012 games.
After winning the gold medal in Beijing four years ago, he teased fans he would dive naked if he took home the gold medal for the second time.
But regardless of whether Mitcham competes at Rio 2016 as a syncro partner to fellow diver James Connor, or as a springboard 3m diver, or again on the 10m platform, he is satisfied.
‘I could never have done more,’ Mitcham said.
‘That’s what I have to say to make myself feel better, and no one can take that [gold medal] away from me, and that’s another thing that I can use as consolation, that I’m always going to be an Olympic champion.