SYDNEY, Australia — Openly gay Olympic gold medalist diving champion Matthew Mitcham, in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday, said he’s comfortable being seen as an icon for the LGBT community and a role model for gay athletes.
In the interview, Mitcham, 24, said that he doesn’t mind the attention paid to his personal life, but hopes that one day his sexuality will be as “unimportant and uninteresting” as the color of hi shair or eyes.
“I certainly don’t see it as a burden,” he said after training in Sydney. “I never did, especially with how much attention the LGBT cause has been getting lately with marriage equality … and with how few openly gay sports stars there are around at the moment. I don’t mind attention being put on it.”
“Ideally I would like one day for sexuality to be as unimportant and uninteresting as hair colour, or eye colour or even just gender in general. One day it will get to that.
But until it is easy for sports people to come out without fear of persecution or fear of lost sponsorship income and stuff like that, or fear of being comfortable in the team environment, I don’t mind attention being brought to my sexuality in the hope that it might make other people feel more comfortable … in being comfortable enough about who they are in their sporting environment.”
Mitcham said that his main purpose in going to the summer Olympic games in London will not be to champion a cause or belief, but to win a gold medal in an event in which he knows he will face some stiff competition.