Mitcham at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
(Pic Philip Myers)
It has been announced that openly gay Australian Olympic gold medal diver Matthew Mitcham will attend the Cologne Gay Games in Germany in July.
Mitcham made international headlines when he came out in an interview just before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he received the highest ever score for an individual dive in Olympic history.
“I’m excited to be part of something so important for our communities around the globe. This event brings lesbian and gay life out on the court, onto the track, and into the pool”, Mitcham said.
The 21 year old sportsman added that while he will be making appearances at several events at the Games, he won’t be competing in the sports program.
“Participating at the Gay Games is a great chance for all gays and lesbians to show that we as a community are not like the stereotypes the straight media loves to portray. I will take time off from training and travel to Cologne, since I strongly feel we have to celebrate our own values and help others to accept that it is ok to be different,” said Mitcham
According to organisers, some 5,300 athletes and artists have already registered to participate in the 35 sports and five cultural events that make up the Gay Games festival.
The eighth edition of the quadrennial Gay Games will be held in Cologne from 31 July to 7 August. Chicago’s seventh Gay Games in July 2006 drew 11,700 participants.