Olympic champion diver named as influential gay Australian

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Matthew Mitcham has been included on a list of 25 influential gay and lesbian Australians.

LGBT media company Same Same announced their top 25 list at a reception at the National Art School in Sydney last night.

“Stand out moments included speeches from Same Same 25 members Matthew Mitcham and John Challis – the youngest and oldest people on the list – both profound in their own way,” according to Same Same.

“Mitcham delivered the strong message that there’s value in perseverance, and that you don’t have to be the strongest, the tallest or the fittest to be the most influential. Challis spoke of the changes he’s seen in public perception of gay people over the years.”

Singer Sam Sparro was also nominated.

Mr Challis, 80, is a campaigner for same-sex superannuation reform. He paid tribute to poet Dorothy Porter in his speech. An out lesbian, she died last week aged 54.

Mr Mitcham became a hero to gay people across the world when he won a diving gold at the Beijing Olympics earlier this year.

He was the only out gay male athlete to compete in the Games.

In a shocking upset, the 20-year-old took home a gold medal in the 10-metre platform event, beating the Chinese favourites.

Despite intensive coverage of other gold medallist’s personal lives during the Games, US broadcaster NBC failed to mention Mitcham was gay, or show footage of the diver’s partner cheering him on and congratulating him after the win.

He was immortalised along with other gold medallists at the 2008 Beijing Olympics on a series of special commemorative stamps.

Australia Post produced a sheetlet of 50 cent Gold Medallist stamps to celebrate each gold medal won by an Australian athlete or team within 24 hours of the presentation ceremony.