AUSTRALIAN Matthew Mitcham last night produced the dive of his life to win a shock gold medal in the men’s 10m platform and end host nation China’s stranglehold on the Beijing Olympic diving competition.
The 20-year-old Sydney diver produced the highest scoring dive in the history of the Olympics with his sixth and final effort to become Australia’s first male Olympic gold medallist in diving since Dick Eve in 1924.
Mitcham finished with an overall score of 537.95 to defeat Zhou (533.15), who had led the final until the final round, to grab Australia’s second diving medal of the Games.
“It’s absolutely surreal. I never thought that this would be possible,” Mitcham said.
“I wasn’t even sure of my medal chances at all. After I did my last dive and I saw I was in first, I thought, “That’s it, it’s a silver medal, I am so happy with this’ and then I won. I can’t believe it, I’m so happy.
“I had some very wise words and some very good advice before coming into the 10m competition, to just enjoy it, have fun and that’s what I thought right from the very first dive in the prelims to the very last dive in the final.
“I was definitely stressing it to myself, just enjoy the moment, there is nothing you can do to change what’s about to happen, so just enjoy it and it worked.”
The result was a major turn-around for Mitcham from his performance in the 3m springboard, in which he failed to make the final after struggling to keep his nerves under control.
“Absoultely everything I have done has been for this,” Mitcham said.
“Coming back and doing everything that I did was to win an Olympic gold medal. That was my aim when I was training every single day, twice a day, 11 sessions a week, 30 hours a week, before every single dive, it was like `I want to win Olympic gold’ and that made me try my hardest in every single training session for the last year and a half.