Gold medal diver battled crystal meth

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 November, 2012, 1:50am

Australian 10-metre platform diver Matt Mitcham says he battled a methamphetamine addiction in 2011 that almost derailed his career and his life, but the 2008 Beijing gold medallist will be free to compete on future Australian Olympic teams.

In a book to be released tomorrow, Twists and Turns, Mitcham reveals his battle with low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, panic attacks and repeated self-harm as a teenager, which helped begin his dependence on the drug.

After winning the 10-metre gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, Mitcham failed to make the final 12 at the London Games .

Mitcham said that even after his Beijing win, he was still ranked No 2 - "I had still failed to achieve my childhood dream of becoming the best in the world at something", so he turned to drugs.

He said he knew the dangers of crystal meth, but "taking it was something I did to take my mind off things that were upsetting me, to make me feel better about myself".

Mitcham said in the book he had recovered from the drug problem with the help of Narcotics Anonymous, hypnotherapy and his family and friends.

He said he was back in training for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The Australian Olympic Committee said it had no idea that Mitcham had any drug issues ahead of the London Games.

"We had no idea that he had a problem, he was his usual friendly, outgoing self in London," AOC spokesman Mike Tancred said yesterday. "He went out and supported all his teammates, was happy and chatty, the usual Matty.

"We did know that before the Games he had a horrendous run with injuries, but we were not aware of any issues with drugs."