Olympic gold medalist Matthew Mitcham has announced his retirement from diving seven months before the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
In a post on Facebook and Twitter Mitcham said:
“It’s official: I have decided to finally retire after a looooooooong but very rewarding diving career.”
After thanking his “long suffering partner”, family, friends and Australian sporting organisations, Mitcham continued:
“I remember the support I got when I came out before my Olympic debut in 2008 and it helped me to keep sharing my story just as candidly. So, it’s Peace Out to my diving career and a big Heeeeeeey to the rest of my media and entertainment and everything else career!”
Also appearing on Australia’s Channel 7 Sunrise programme, Mitcham threw out his arms and said:
“I’m free. I’m a lady of leisure.”
Mitcham came out in 2008 before competing at the Olympic Games in Beijing. In doing so he became one of only two openly gay male competitors at the games that year.
The Australian made further headlines when he won the gold medal in the Men’s 10m platform preventing a clean sweep of the diving medals from the host nation. Mitcham scored the highest score for a single dive in Olympic history when he executed a two and a half somersault with two and a half twists in the pike position, earning him 112.10 points including perfect 10s from four of the judges.
Mitcham fought back from injury and drug addiction to compete at the London Olympics in 2012 but narrowly missed out on qualifying for the final of the 10m competition.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Mitcham won an individual silver medal in the 1m springboard, a silver medal with Grant Nel in the synchronised 3m springboard and a gold medal with Domonic Bedggood in the synchronised 10m platform narrowly betting the English partnership of Tom Daley and James Denny.
Since 2014, Mitcham has turned his attention to media and entertainment, fronting his own cabaret show and appearing in Australia’s Dancing With The Stars. In his interview with Australia’s Channel 7 Sunrise programme, Mitcham announced he is working on two new shows and also hopes to get more opportunities in sports and in the Olympic Games.