According to OutSports.com, of the 10,708 athletes at the Olympics this year, just 10 have identified themselves publicly as being gay. Of the 10, Australian diver Matthew Mitcham is the only male gay athlete.
Yesterday, Mitcham won the gold in the in the 10m platform diving event, scoring an upset over the Chinese team, which was heavily favored to win. But as Maggie Hendricks at Yahoo’s Olympics blog notes, NBC never mentioned Mitcham’s orientation:
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.
In his press interview after the event, however, Mitcham stood with both his mother and his partner, Lachlan, thanking them for the support they’ve provided. Watch it:
Mitcham first came out in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald on May 24. Mitcham said that they couldn’t afford for Lachlan to attend the games, so had applied for — and was awarded — a grant through the Johnson & Johnson Athlete Family Support Program to send him to Beijing.
According to the LA Times, the first thing Mitcham did when meeting with journalists after his win was “hug the reporter who handled the story with particular sensitivity.”
Seanflynn at DailyKos writes:
Clearly, someone at NBC made the decision NOT to mention it. And in doing so, they denied tens of thousands of struggling younger people the chance to see that somelike like them could be an Olympic hero, and millions more that it is normal to be gay and athletic.