Gold-winning diver Matthew Mitcham opens up about addiction
by Clayton Wehner - December 3rd, 2012
‘People kept remarking on how they were surprised that a gold medal and fame hadn’t changed me. I always responded, “Why would I change? Being me is the easiest person to be.”
I was lying. It wasn’t.’
There was no hint of the harrowing battle this talented young dynamo had fought with clinical depression, self-harm, and his addiction to alcohol and drugs including crystal meth (also known as Ice).
Joyously out and proud, Matthew was a role model for his courage both in and out of the pool. Yet even after Beijing and ranking No 1 in the world, beneath that cheeky, fun-loving exterior he was painfully aware of how easily it could unravel.
Unbeknownst to everyone, even those closest to him, Matthew turned to crystal meth as a way of dealing with his personal demons some of which stemmed from his childhood.
When injury further threatened his London Olympic hopes, he struggled to overcome his addictions through rehab and counselling, and balance his perfectionism with the old fear of self-doubt. He may not have won gold but he triumphed over his physical and emotional pain – and showed us the true meaning of sportsmanship.
As Andre Agassi’s Open is to tennis, so is Matthew Mitcham’s Twists and Turns to diving. This is an inspiring story of a true champion, in and out of the pool.
“A searingly frank memoir” – Deborah Snow, The Sydney Morning Herald
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