MITCHAM Matthew < Back  
Sport Diving
CGA Australia   
Gender Men
Born 02 Mar 1988 in Brisbane, AUS
Height1.74 m
Weight 67 kg
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Residence Sydney, NSW, AUS
Occupation Athlete, Student
Languages English, French, Mandarin, Spanish
Higher education Language Studies, Science - Sydney University: Sydney, NSW, AUS
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? A former trampoliner, he took up diving in 1999 at the age of 11 at Sleeman Aquatic Centre in Brisbane.
Why this sport? Growing up in Brisbane, the summers were very hot. He would play around on the diving boards at Sleeman Aquatic Centre to cool down, and was spotted by an Australian Institute of Sport coach who believed he had potential. Soon after he began diving full time, and competed in his first national championship at age 12.
Club / Team Abbotsleigh Diving Club; NSWIS: Sydney, NSW, AUS
Name of coach Chava Sobrino
Coach from which country? Brazil
Coach from what year? 2007
Training Regime "I never really change the hours I do - just the intensity. I train 11 sessions a week, twice each weekday and once on Saturday. It comes to about 30 hours a week. Sunday's my day off, but I usually spend that doing uni work."
International Debut
Year 2004
Competing for Australia
Tournament World Championships in Montreal
Location Brazil
General Interest
Nicknames M'n'M. (diving.asn.au, 31 Dec 2009)
Hobbies Eating, sleeping and listening to music. (diving.asn.au, 31 Dec 2009)
Memorable sporting achievement Winning gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. (MattMitcham.com, 17 Aug 2010)
Most influential person in career Coach Chava Sobrino, "I have never met anyone who gives his time and is so dedicated to all of us. I have so much respect for him and I feel as though I owe my career to him. He is such an inspiration." (fina.org, 2010)
Hero / Idol Aussie swimmer Ian Thorpe, fellow Aussie diver Mathew Helm and former US diver Greg Louganis. (diving.asn.au; mattmitcham.com, 31 Dec 2009)
Injuries He suffered an abdominal muscle injury in April 2011 that kept him out until December. With just two weeks of preparation he returned to win the Australian 10m platform title. (sportsillustrated.cnn.com, 11 Dec 2011)

He hit the platform in a training accident shortly before the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and was forced to compete with his left shoulder heavily strapped. (The Age, 25 Mar 2006)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs "I'm superstitious about having any superstitions. I do my best to quash any that start creeping up on me." (diving.asn.au, 31 Dec 2009)
Sporting philosophy / motto "[Diving] is all subjective. You can think it's absolutely brilliant and your coach can think it's absolutely brilliant too, but it's all up to the judges. You can't really know if you've done a great dive." (smh.com.au, 25 Nov 2009)

"I try not to even think of the dives ahead of me or behind me - just the immediate one. You have to stay in the moment." (gq.com.au, 01 Sep 2010)
Awards and honours He was named 2012 Australian Male Diver of the Year. (olympics30.com, 2012)

He was honoured as Chief of Parade the 2009 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. (smh.com.au, 25 Nov 2009)

He was named 2008 Australian Sports Performer of the Year. (heraldsun.com.au, 31 Dec 2008)

At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games he scored what was at the time the highest diving score in Olympic history to win gold in the 10m platform. (foxsports.com.au, 23 Aug 2008)
Other sports He has also competed internationally in trampolining, representing Australia at the Youth Olympic Festival in 2003 and winning the double mini apparatus at the 2001 World Junior Championships. (gq.com.au, 01 Sep 2010; MattMitcham.com, 17 Aug 2010)
Other information STUDIES
He studied Mandarin at the University of Queensland, but jokes that he did not use it to converse with his competitors in Beijing. In 2009-10 he was studying a bachelor of arts-science studies [including French and Spanish] at Sydney University. (smh.com.au, 25 Nov 2009)

HIGHEST OLYMPIC DIVE EVER
At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games he produced the highest scoring dive in the history of the Olympics, to become Australia's first gold diving medallist since Dick Eve in 1924. Trailing China's Zhou Luxin by over 30 points going into the final round, he dove a back two and a half somersault with two and a half twists to score 112.10. He finished with an overall score of 537.95 to beat Zhou's 533.15. (foxsports.com.au, 23 Aug 2008)

GAY ATHLETE
He was one of very few openly gay athletes at the Beijing Olympic Games. "In the past I thought being gay is a weakness, but I didn't experience any disadvantages after my coming out," he said. He was also an ambassador for the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany, where he read the oath of the athletes at the opening ceremony. (smh.com.au, 24 May 2008; samesame.com.au, 03 Aug 2010; ontopmag.com, 31 Jul 2010)

PERSONAL BACKGROUND
He was raised by his mother, and never knew his father. "They separated before I was born. But there's not really a big story...I've just never met him. I have not been interested enough to pursue meeting him," he says. On his web site he says he has a rebellious streak that at 14 led him to get his tongue pierced. Self-described as "free-spirited" and "a little bit different," he still has the piercing which he says he does not even notice while diving. (smh.com.au, 25 Nov 2009; diving.asn.au, 03 Oct 2010; MattMitcham.com, 17 Aug 2010)