From teenage retirement to Royal Easter Show high-diver to gay icon to gold Olympic medallist; Matthew Mitcham's journey to success has been an amazing roller-coaster.
Mitcham's pulled off a stunning final dive in the 10 metre platform, scoring an incredible four perfect 10s, to steal the gold off favourite Chinese diver Luxin Zhou. Mitcham finished with 537.95 points.
It was a massive upset defeating the premiere and form Chinese divers Liang Huo and Luxin Zhou in front fierce home crowd.
Mitcham, 20, battled depression, retired in his teenage years after physical and emotional burn-out, then just nine months later resumed his sport in 2007. Last night his triumphant return to the sport was crowned with gold.
His coach Chava Sobrino, who encouraged Mitcham back into the sport, elatedly embraced diver and Mitcham broke down in tears.
It was late 2006 that Mitcham lost passion for diving and suffering depression he quit. During his hiatus from the sport last year to make money he plunged from a tower 14 metres high into a pool of water for crowds at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. That job reignited his passion for the sport.
One person who has been by his side for the entire tumultuous and now brilliant journey is his partner, Lachlan, he was in the crowd last night courtesy of a Johnson & Johnson Olympic sponsorship.
Mitcham is one of only a few "out" gay athletes in Beijing and the first Australian to openly declare his homosexuality going into an Olympics. He's been a cover-boy for gay magazines and featured on the cult gossip website Perezhilton.com accompanied by the tagline: "Yum. Yum. Yum! Can we have a piece of that????".
From the first round the Chinese divers were on song Zhou luxin scored 84.00 and Huo Liang 82.50.
Mitcham's first dive was shaky and not well executed he finished with a poor 73.50 in 9th spot after first round. But the second dive, a back three and 1/2 somersault, rescued his score and boosted him up to second place. He registered four 10s - gave him a score of 97.35 for the back 3 and half somersault.
He continued on consitently, and was in bronze position after round for of five. His fifth dive, an armstand back double somersault, one and half twists, put him in silver.
For his last dive Mitcham needed something brilliant for gold and he found it in his back 2 and 1/2 sommersault 2 and 1/2 twists dive. He scored a huge 112.10 points.
He smiled broadly as he collected the Olympic gold, triumphantly throwing his hands in the air. Tears fell again when the medal was slipped over his head and around his neck.
Mitcham's final dive was the highest scoring dive in Olympic history and he was stunned. His thoughts?
"I think it's something to beat next time," Mitcham said. "Everything absolutely everything has been for this. I knew it was a far chance but I did everything, absolutely everything I could, to give myself the best chance of doing it. It's actually happened I never thought it would."
First dive and third dive "weren't the best". He kept the faith.
"I knew the best dives would come," Mitcham said.
His rocky road to the top was worth it Mitcham said last night.
"Coming back and doing everything I did was to win an Olympic gold medal. When I was training every single day, twice a day, eleven sessions a week, thirty hours a week before every single dive I said to myself; 'I want to win an Olympic gold'.
"It was all worth it."