Olympic Gold Medal Diver To Attend 2010 Gay GamesMatthew Mitcham. Photo by William Cheung

Australian Olympic gold medalist Matthew Mitcham has announced that he will take time off from training and travel to Cologne to make appearances at several events at the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, but won’t be competing in the sports program.

“I’m excited to be part of something so important for our communities around the globe,” said Mitcham. “This event brings lesbian and gay life out on the court, onto the track, and into the pool.”

 

Mitcham won the gold medal in 10 meter platform diving at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, winning on a final dive that had the highest single-dive score in Olympic history. He was one of 11 openly-gay athletes at the Beijing Olympics.

“Being ‘out’ for me means being just as I am with nothing to be ashamed about and no reasons to hide," said Mitcham. "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.”

“Matthew, one of the most recognized openly gay sports persons of our time at just age 21, is a fantastic role model, especially for younger people,” said Emy Ritt and Kurt Dahl, co-presidents of the Federation of Gay Games. “He is focused and successful in his sport and doesn’t have to hide being gay. This is something of which Gay Games founder Dr. Tom Waddell would have been so proud.”

Games Cologne and its organizing team are working around the clock to prepare their city to become the global centre of LGBT life for one full week from July 31 through August 7. More than 5,000 artists and athletes have already registered to participate.

“After almost 30 years, the Gay Games continues to make lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender life visible through sports and culture, thus allowing new generations to be accepted just as they are,” said Ritt.

For more information about the games, and to see a video Mitcham recorded for them, visit www.gaygames.com or www.games-cologne.com

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