FROM winning gold at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival 11 years ago to his historic gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Matthew Mitcham has just announced he is retiring from professional diving.
The 27-year-old dual Olympian, who publicly came out as gay just months before the Beijing Olympics in 2008, announced his retirement today to pursue a career in media and entertainment.
“I’ve had a really good run, and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to do what I love for as long as I have,” Mitcham said.
“I have achieved everything I hoped for, including the big three – Olympic Gold in 2008, World Number One in 2010, and Commonwealth Gold in 2014 – which could never have happened without all the help I’ve had along the way.
“Above all, nothing has made me prouder than being able to represent my country and my community at the highest level of sport. The support from the public has been overwhelming, and I’m extremely grateful for that, too.”
Mitcham produced the highest scoring dive in Olympic history to win the 10m platform event at the 2008 Olympics. In doing so he denied China a clean sweep of all eight diving events in Beijing’s Water Cube, and became Australia’s first male diving gold medallist since Dick Eve in 1924.
Watch Matthew Mitcham announce his retirement on Sunrise this morning:
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Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said Mitcham shone from an early age.
“Matthew came up through the Australian Youth Olympic Festival where he beat the best young divers from China and we knew then he had the talent to be an Olympic champion,” he said.
“He was lost to the sport for a time but came back to take the gold medal with that perfect final dive in Beijing. Matthew was extremely popular, he was a great Team man, and we congratulate him on an outstanding career and wish him well in the next phase of his life.”
Following his retirement, Mitcham believes now is the right time to focus on new adventures.
“I’m making this decision because I feel I’m at a turning point in what I hope is a long and colourful career in media and entertainment,” he said.
“I look forward to still being involved in sport in one way or another, but I can’t wait to dive into this next chapter.”
Mitcham has already begun a career in entertainment, having toured the country with his cabaret show Twists and Turns for the past couple of years and posting several YouTube videos of ukulele covers, such as his Single Ladies cover: