Aussie Mitcham Makes Statement at Diving World Cup

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Summer Olympic fans may remember Matthew Mitcham, the Australian diver who singlehandedly stopped a Chinese sweep of diving gold medals in 2008 with a record-breaking performance. As the 2012 London Olympics just get closer and closer, Mitcham is now back in the news and raising Australians’ hopes for their 2012 Olympic team.

Amid speculation that his Beijing performance may have been a one-time thing, Mitcham has followed up his 2008 with a series of fresh achievements that have many speculating that he could make big waves (or small waves, if you like) at the 2012 Olympics in London.

In 2008, Mitcham disappointed fans by performing poorly on the 3m springboard, where he placed 16th and didn’t qualify for the final. Then, after passable performances in his first two 10m dives, he stunned observers by scoring a 112.10 on his final dive, setting the Olympic record for a single-dive score.

The feat instantly turned Mitcham from an Olympic also-ran to a worldwide celebrity, especially in his home country, where he has inspired thousands of young people to take up diving.

This year’s diving World Cup took place last month in Changzhou, China. Once again, Mitcham’s biggest competition came from the Chinese, who seem to dominate this sport at the world level. However, just as he did in 2008, Mitcham overcame the competition in the 10M by a respectable margin.

His final score of 562.80 edged out top competitors Huo Liang and Qui Bo, who scored 555.40 and 554.70, respectively. As with his 2008 achievement, his win came on a big final jump after two less successful jumps in the preliminaries and semi-finals. Going in to the final, he was in fourth place, trailing Qui Bo by 40 points.

Following the competition, Mitcham told reporters that his win reminds him that he can be competitive on the world stage. This victory comes after equally impressive performance at recent competitions in Canada and Mexico, and Mitcham says that he is building toward something with these performances. “I’m diving better than Beijing,” he said. “I’ve got two new dives since then, I’ve changed the order of my dives and a few other things.”

But Mitcham can’t rest on his laurels any time soon. After he completes his university studies this year, he will join his Australian teammates in Perth to begin training for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, which take place this October in Delhi.

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