Not only did he achieve a perfect score in diving at the Beijing Olympics in 2012, he was also the only ‘out’ athlete at those games.
I really enjoyed Mitcham’s writing style. He strikes a good balance between being clear and concise, as well as making you feel you’re right there with him. Whether he’s recalling early childhood memories of growing up in Brisbane, Australia; or the tension he felt right before his Olympics (and career) highlight, you feel as if you’re right there with him
I didn’t know a whole lot about Mitcham before reading this book, and I was surprised (in a good way) at just how forthright and open he is. He discusses topics such as his own self harm, family alcoholism and estrangement from his father. This isn’t just a glossy PR job for an elite athlete. This is a true story, warts and all, of a real human being.
I also enjoyed the balance Mitcham struck between sharing personal details, but also retaining his own privacy. For instance, he mentions his boyfriend Lachlan. He recounts how they met, as well as various aspects of their relationship. You end up with just enough information to satisfy your interest, but you never feel like you’re being voyeuristic or intrusive into someone’s private life. I really admire him for being able to do that.
The book is inspiring, but not in a cliched ‘win against all odds’ way. It’s a real story of a real person. Matthew Mitcham comes across as likeable, well adjusted, flawed, but aware of his flaws. The book is an interesting and enjoyable read.