Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, the only openly gay male athlete at the 2008 Summer Olympics, is not even the only out diver at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Also diving is Britain’s Tom Daley who came out last year and has since gone public with his relationship with Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.
Mitcham says he was ‘as surprised as anyone else when Daley, 20, posted his coming out video on YouTube.
‘I’d even had dinner with him a month before it happened and I never knew anything,’ Mitcham tells CNN. ‘I totally understand with how young he is and, growing up in the public eye, it would’ve been extremely hard.
‘I felt very fortunate that I didn’t get famous until after I had well and truly established my sexual identity, whereas he’s been in the spotlight since he was 13. It’s a really hard position to be in so I totally commend and support how he did it and when he did it.’
Mitcham has had supportive words for fellow Aussie athlete Ian Thorpe, a retired swimmer, who came out publicly earlier this month after years of speculation about his sexuality.
‘It must have been a very harrowing ordeal,’ Mitcham told the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this month. ‘… It took him 15 years to change his answer [to the question of his sexuality], which is a perfect indicator of his struggle.’