TV boss apologises for coverage of gay Olympic hero
The head of Olympics at American television network NBC has apologised for the way in which they reported the story of Matthew Mitcham.
The 20-year-old Australian diver won gold at the Beijing Games last week.
However, NBC caused outrage by appearing to censor pictures of the athlete celebrating his win with his boyfriend Lachlan.
The only out gay contestant at the Games, NBC made no mention of his sexuality when discussing his triumph at the 10 metre platform diving event.
After the Australian national anthem was played Matthew went into the stands to embrace his mother and kiss Lachlan, an event missed out of the NBC coverage broadcast across the US.
After protests led by gay entertainment blog AfterElton.com, the network initially claimed they were unaware that there was an issue over their coverage.
“Anyone watching NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Olympics is aware how much time the network devoted to many athlete’s personal stories,” said AfterElton.com.
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“Michael Phelp’s record setting eight Olympic gold medals and his relationship with his mother, Usain Bolt’s gold medals and world records, and even Sanya Richard’s relationship with her fiancée who plays for the New York Giants.
“Was Mitcham’s win simply not that noteworthy? Given that he single-handedly kept the Chinese from winning every men’s diving gold medal, that explanation is highly unlikely.”
NBC responded: “It’s not possible to cover the entire personal story of every athlete regarding their performance. It’s just not possible to single out coverage.”
However, yesterday the network’s head of Olympics conceded that NBC had been at fault.
“We regret that we missed the opportunity to tell Matthew Mitcham’s story,” Gary Zenkel told AfterElton.com
“We apologise for this unintentional omission.”