Olympic Games 1
World Championships 1
Commonwealth Games 1 6

2007 - 2016



As a child growing up in a single-parent household, Matthew Mitcham had a dream. He wanted to become the world’s best at . . . something. Testimony to his iron-willed focus and determination, Mitcham fulfilled that goal in 1999 and 2001 by winning the World Junior Trampolining Championships. 

However, those triumphs were merely a precursor for one of the Olympics’ most incredible performances – Mitcham’s perfect dive at the 2008 Beijing Games which yielded 112.10 points, the highest in Olympic history. 

It was, appropriately, a cliff hanger of a competition as Mitcham entered the final round of the 10m platform event trailing 34 points behind Chinese diver, and 2006 World Cup champion, Zhou Luxin. In a compelling come-from-behind effort, Mitcham fulfilled his childhood quest for greatness when the four judges awarded him perfect 10s. 

His performance – which denied host nation China a clean sweep of the diving gold medals – was also the first time an Australia male had claimed an Olympic gold since Sydney’s Richmond ‘Dick’ Eve won the plain board event at the 1924 Paris Games. 

The twist to Mitcham’s triumph was that he was almost lost to the sport as an 18-year-old. After being identified by a Diving Australia coach as a young prospect he quit after enjoying international success.  

However, an invitation to join NSWIS coach, Chava Sobrino, as one of the Institute’s scholarship holders in 2007 – and just 15 months before the Olympic Games – set Brisbane-born Mitcham on track for something special.  

He flourished under Sobrino’s tutelage, winning bronze in the men’s 1m springboard at the 2009 FINA Aquatics World Championships, four silver medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games before capping off his decorated career with one gold and two silver medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

While embraced by all Australians as a great champion, Mitcham’s success, and his courage, is highly valued by members of the nation’s LBGTQA community – and many of their parents – for publicly acknowledging in the lead up to Beijing that he’s a homosexual.  

However, finding the strength to declare his “authentic self” took a terrible toll on Mitcham’s mental health and wellbeing. He provided a heartbreaking testimony about the demons he battled as a young man who felt alienated and ashamed of his sexuality due to social stigma.  

Mitcham detailed how he’d tried to ‘train’ himself to be straight by tying a rubber band around his wrist and snapping it whenever he had a gay thought. He explained he was attempting to associate pain and suffering with the gay thought. He also drank to the point of unconsciousness in an attempt to escape his torment.  

In 2022, Mitcham was named as an ambassador for the Australian Institute of Sport’s inaugural Thrive with Pride Program. He has also made his name as an author, a cabaret performer, a sought-after speaker, and MC. 

Mitcham was named a NSWIS Most Outstanding in 2016 at the NSWIS Awards. 


In partnership with Diving Australia and NSW Diving, the NSWIS Diving Program aims to deliver multiple benchmark event medals and performances through expertise, facilities and our collaborative approach to performance across all diving disciplines.