Did NBC censor gold-winning Aussie diver Matthew Mitcham’s sexuality?

Mitcham overwhelmed by his gold-winning scores

The only out gay man at this year’s Beijing Olympic games was a diver by the name of Matthew Mitcham. After a disappointing 3 meter dive, Mitcham blew by the Chinese favorite Huo Llang in the 10 meter platform with a nearly perfect performance. It is Australia’s first diving gold since 1924.

The emotional and adorable Mitcham accepted his top spot with excitement, incredulity and modesty saying:

I wasn’t even sure of my medal chances at all. After I did my last dive and I saw I was in first, I thought, “That’s it, it’s a silver medal, I am so happy with this” and then I won. I can’t believe it, I’m so happy…My cheeks hurt from smiling, my face hurts from the chlorine, my legs are sore from jumping up and down…

And if you are like me, you missed this incredible moment. Luckily, video highlights can be found. For the true fan, the worldwide Olympic feed created a 15 minute medley showing all six of Mitcham’s final dives, the celebration after the dives in which he hugs practically every diver, the medal ceremony and him jumping into the stands to give his flowers and a kiss to his partner, Lachlan Fletcher.

For the slightly more impatient among us, here’s a quick minute and a half clip showing just the final dive and the scores. However, the quality isn’t quite as nice and I can’t guarantee how long it’ll stay up.

But the historic performance isn’t the only aspect of this tale that’s been making headlines.

NBC has been taking some flak for not mentioning Mitcham’s sexuality in their coverage. When AfterElton talked to an NBC representative the only explanation offered was that they just couldn’t cover every athlete, every medal winner.

Because I did not watch the initial coverage it is difficult for me to comment on this controversy. On one hand, this explanation sounds valid. Indeed, if they profiled Mitcham concentrating on his magnificent performance more than his personal story I wouldn’t fault them.

However, I get the impression they did very little coverage of this turn-around story in general. And surely, with the odds against him, an emotional and touching reaction to the win and a genuinely compelling background human interest story, you would think bright-faced Mitcham would be the perfect feature story.

Yahoo agrees:

NBC did not mention Mitcham’s orientation, nor did they show his family and partner who were in the stands. NBC has made athletes’ significant others a part of the coverage in the past, choosing to spotlight track athlete Sanya Richards’ fiancee, a love triangle between French and Italian swimmers and Kerri Walsh’s wedding ring debacle

Well, if NBC isn’t interested, the Olympics’ gay audience surely is and Outsports has a great selection of Mitcham news. He’s our diving poster boy. Congratulations!

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