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Out gay Olympian wins gold; partner in stands ignored by NBC

Does the Peacock Network have a homophobic slip showing? Diver Matthew Mitcham of Australia won the 10 meter diving competition, besting the dominant Chinese divers in the event. He’s also the first openly gay athlete to medal (Greg Louganis came out publicly after his win).

We saw plenty of significant others’ reactions to their loved ones winning medals, but NBC chose to ignore the partner of Matthew Mitcham (or any of his family, for that matter. (Cyd Zeigler@OutSports):

he only openly gay male athlete in Beijing pulled off one of the great upsets at the Olympics in a spectacular fashion. If he had had cancer, or if his parents had been killed in a car crash when he was 2, or if he had just proposed to his girlfriend, they would have mentioned it. But they never showed him hugging his boyfriend, never mentioned it. They referred to “personal problems,” but I’m afraid they decided Matthew’s sexuality was off limits. A real shame.

…Only a handful of sites and newspapers are mentioning it. Even the New York Times decided to not mention his sexuality, or his struggle to get his partner to Beijing with him. People will say, “it’s not part of the story, he’s just an athlete,” but they are wrong. His sexuality, specifically because he’s the ONLY ONE, and because gay men are painted as unathletic in our culture, makes it a big part of the story.

Heck, we watched Michael Phelps’ mom and sisters throughout all of his medal-contention swims, and it’s appropriate. Why not Mitcham’s? How, pray tell, is it inflammatory to show loved ones, even unidentified — NBC couldn’t even do that. Gasp – they might have to define who his partner is. So what. Say it and move along. Most of the audience will take note and move on as well. Are they afraid of the AFA or Daddy D boycotting something? Please.

Cyd also mentioned that several outlets did report on it, including the LAT, The Guardian (UK), and the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding