Mitcham bows out of title defence

MATTHEW Mitcham is an expressive, eccentric, emotional and energetic young man.  

What more would you expect from an Olympic champion who has passed the time playing his ukulele for the last 15 days, and spent the first few days of the Games scaling anything and everything? 

Such expression and emotion was clearly evident at the Aquatic Centre today, with Australia watching on in hope as Mitcham scored a 10 with is fourth dive, only to slip out of finals qualification with dives five and six.  

Finishing 13th overall and missing the final by just 13 points, Mitcham scored highly with his third and fourth dives and appeared to be gaining some momentum before it all came unstuck on dives five and six.

As is always the way with Mitcham, what you see is what you get, and when the Beijing gold medallist raised his arms in celebration after this third and fourth dive in the 10m platform semi-finals this morning, it was clear he thought he was diving well.

"The dives were just getting better and better and when that happens I'd tend to follow it through, but I guess all I can say is that my performance was a product of my preparation which was so interrupted with injuries and I just didn't have enough time to get those last two dives consistent," Mitcham said.

Scoring 86.40 points with his third dive, and then 90.75 with his fourth, a reverse three and a half somersault with a 3.3 degree of difficulty, the 24-year-old dropped off the pace a little with his fifth dive, a 74.25, and his final dive a 70.20 back two and a half somersault with two and half twists.

Mitcham had to follow Canadian Riley McCormick who produced a stunning last dive of 97.20 points to secure the 12th spot into the final.

Disappointed, yet philosophical about his performance considering the injuries he has suffered over the last couple of years, Mitcham says he was hoping to have made the final and finishing so close is hard to take.

"I think coming 13th and missing out by one spot is the hardest thing. If I had of come 18th, it would be like 'well I never had a chance really'," Mitcham said.

"There were highs and lows in the competition and I scored a 10 and felt like this was going to be it and that experience would surpass the preparation issue."

Talking about potentially moving to the 3m springboard or possibly switching his attention to the 10m synchro, Mitcham will dive on post London and plans to be in Rio rain, hail or smiley face.

"Before coming to London I'd pretty much decided that it was going to be my last Olympics and that I was going to retire because of all the injuries and everything.  But the Olympics is such an amazing experience and I never want to miss another one again whether it's as a diver or in the media. 

"I'm definitely going to be in Rio… no matter what."

An Olympic champion in more ways than one, Mitcham has been a fantastic ambassador for his sport over the last four years and will always be referred to as an Olympic gold medallist.

"No one can ever take that away from me. I'm always going to be an Olympic champion… so there."

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