London Calling Our Faculty Olympians - Matthew Mitcham

24 July 2012

From the exam room to the Olympic stadium, Arts and Social Sciences students continue to put their knowledge and skills to the test as they head to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Four inspirational students and one alumna will represent the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the upcoming London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

They join over 30 members of the University of Sydney community as the University's largest ever contingent bound for any Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Among our faculty community members embarking on their Olympic journey are Matthew Mitcham and Loudy Wiggins, who join the 10-strong diving squad, and Paralympian Jenny Blow in the sport of goalball.

Faculty Olympian of the Week

Matthew Mitcham (Arts and Sciences)


Matthew Mitcham
Matthew Mitcham won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
and hopes for a repeat performance in London. Photo: GettyImages.

Matthew Mitcham's path to the 2012 London Olympics has been paved with unexpected turns and high expectations.

The 24-year-old made headlines after clinching a stunning victory at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, defeating expected event winner Zhou L├╝xin to win the gold medal.

In the dive of his life, Mitcham gave a textbook performance in the 10m platform finals, coming from behind to achieve a perfect 10 score from four judges and recording the highest single-dive score in Olympic history.

But if the pressure to hold on to his gold medal title hasn't been enough, the defending champion is returning to the Olympics after being sidelined for much of last year with a serious abdominal injury.

"London was where I had originally planned to make my big, gold medal-winning performance, but a series of injuries throughout 2011 and 2012 put my selection in jeopardy," Mitcham said.

"I was really grateful to have been given another chance to represent Australia at an Olympic Games."

Despite these challenges, Mitcham believes preparation is key as he attempts to realise his dream of taking home another gold in London. In a nod to his return to form, Mitcham was recently named Male Diver of the Year 2012.

"My preparation hasn't been ideal, and it has changed my expectations a bit, but I reckon I'm still in medal contention," he said.

Between a hectic schedule of upwards of thirty hours a week training at the gym and pool, Mitcham has still managed to make space to balance his University commitments part-time.

Mitcham expects his study at the University of Sydney will prepare him for a job outside of the pool, and aspires to one day pursue a television career.

"I wouldn't mind being a foreign correspondent; to utilise my language skills and travel all around the globe," he said.

The current Bachelor of Arts and Science student, who is majoring in both French and Spanish, expects to finish his degree in 2014.

Matthew Mitcham's advice: "Don't deter, defer! The body gives out before the brain does."

Contact: Emily Jones

Phone: 02 9114 1961

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