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Olympic Diver Matthew Mitcham Battled Crystal Meth Addiction in 2011

A bombshell revelation from his new autobiography Twists and Turns is that gay Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham was battling an addiction to crystal meth in the years leading up to the London Olympics, at which he failed to medal:

MitchamThe Sydney Morning Herald reports that following his Olympic win in 2008 after still failing to be ranked as World #1, he descended into depression:

Self-doubt came crashing back, fuelled by injury. Secretly smoking crystal meth to boost his moods, he was soon in the grip of addiction.

He knew the drug's dangers. But ''taking it was something I did … to take my mind off things that were upsetting me - to make me feel better about myself.''

The openly gay Mitcham has climbed back from last year's depths with the aid of Narcotics Anonymous, a drug rehabilitation clinic, hypnotherapy and the support of his inner circle. He's chased the demons away and is training for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

In therapy still, he believes he is happier and healthier. As for fully understanding himself, he writes: ''The answers continue to elude me. I may work it out one day.''

Said Mitcham to Australia's Nine News program 60 Minutes: "I certainly was addicted to crystal meth...I just felt like such a massive sham."

Here's the preview to his 60 Minutes interview.

(via outsports)

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Comments

  1. Good for him! I think he's a pretty great role model!

    Posted by: Frank | Nov 16, 2012 2:42:24 PM


  2. You had to figure something was up when he completely bombed in London.

    Honestly, I have hardly met any gay men who were really and truly well-adjusted individuals without some kind of psychological/emotional bugaboo. I am sure part of that is due to the effects of living in a homophobic world, but I don't think that is the whole explanation. I suspect that struggles with masculinity issues are the main culprit and will continue to be until gay men fully embrace masculine values and reject idolization of women.

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 16, 2012 2:43:38 PM


  3. That's so Behind the Music.

    Posted by: ripper | Nov 16, 2012 2:49:24 PM


  4. @Rick have you ever thought that the pressure to conform "masculine values" is in and of itself a "kind of psychological/emotional bugaboo?"

    Posted by: Charles | Nov 16, 2012 2:50:52 PM


  5. "masculine values?" "Reject idolization of women?" I think you might have inadvertently exemplified some of the absurd anxieties with which Mitcham probably struggled.

    Posted by: BCLance | Nov 16, 2012 2:54:43 PM


  6. Kudos to him for sharing his truths. Can't be easy.

    The more that we all do this the more we'll help each. Invisibility is the enemy, and when more brave people like Mitcham come forward not only to stand up to be counted as Gay, but to specifically highlight and talk about the effects of being gay in an anti-gay world culture, we truly inspire change in others.

    Well met, brother.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 16, 2012 2:54:53 PM


  7. ALL environments where there's tremendous pressure to perform, huge $ involved, substantial down time after intense periods, ...in sports, entertainment, politics, business, and the medical field, you see a lot of substance abuse.

    I know a very well known musician [he isn't gay] from a band that was mega big. I commented that almost every musician I've known, particularly those in bands, were always irritable and often aholes and difficult to deal with. We both agreed much of it has to do with working odd hours [while also often having another regular job for those who haven't made it big], pressure to always be 'on' and ready to perform, lots of downtime after hectic schedules, being constantly around parties, alcohol and drugs, and of course often personality types with big egos, are the main cause.

    There's no doubt being a gay man or even bisexual is still a nerve whacking thing in a world that still doesn't fully respect you or your 'lifestyle'. Also, many gay and bi males don't fit into the gay ghetto world as well as others, and can feel lost at times, lacking a real sense of community. These things result in mental health issues, and substance abuse, for some.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Nov 16, 2012 2:55:03 PM


  8. "@Rick have you ever thought that the pressure to conform "masculine values" is in and of itself a "kind of psychological/emotional bugaboo?"

    No, Charles, I haven't because masculinity in men is entirely a consequence of nature--which is why it is universal across human cultures, whereas the lack thereof almost always indicates some kind of deep psychological mal-adjustment, as is usually the case with gay men......

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 16, 2012 2:55:15 PM


  9. Scumbags egotistical POS like Lil' Canadian don't help matters, either.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Nov 16, 2012 2:58:58 PM


  10. Well, clearly there is one gay man with masculinity issues in this thread, Rick.

    Posted by: 24play | Nov 16, 2012 2:59:14 PM


  11. Rick--has anyone ever told you you're an idiot?

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Nov 16, 2012 3:01:33 PM


  12. "Rick--has anyone ever told you you're an idiot?"

    Every day. Every single day.

    Posted by: ripper | Nov 16, 2012 3:03:35 PM


  13. "Rick--has anyone ever told you you're an idiot?"

    Every day. Every single day."


    You know, when you resort to name-calling and personal attacks, you simply confirm that I have spoken a truth that makes you uncomfortable......

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 16, 2012 3:06:23 PM


  14. And the fact that some men have more traditionally feminine qualities (and some women, more masculine) is entirely a consequence of nature and is universal across cultures as well, Rick. The "bugaboos" appear as a result of society not accepting those contrary traits and telling a person she/he is "less than" for those innate qualities.

    Posted by: PepeSF | Nov 16, 2012 3:06:38 PM


  15. I doubt his addiction was that serious, as a meth addiction will wipe out an athletic career. However, it does make for good book publicity.

    It's the VIP status and availability of drugs that fuels their use in celebrity culture. Many enablers, few restrictions and a sense of privilege. No need for any personal demons. Feeling depressed is not a sign of an actual clinical condition. However, it is the perfect excuse.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 16, 2012 3:09:07 PM


  16. next up will be his disclosure that he is HIV+. wait for it...

    Posted by: UWSGUY | Nov 16, 2012 3:10:41 PM


  17. @uwsgy: Actually the next big disclosure will be that he started dating the old guy he is with when he was 15.

    Posted by: Mike | Nov 16, 2012 3:15:26 PM


  18. a truth that i love - the haters can only spew their hate from a place of anonymity.

    a brave young man and role-model steps forward not only as a gay man, but open up about his own struggles.

    he deserves nothing less than support and thanks. after all, he's doing what anonymous-commenters give excuses to not do.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 16, 2012 3:17:02 PM


  19. Sad. I hope his public talking will help other people in similar situation. Good thing is he is getting better.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Nov 16, 2012 3:21:32 PM


  20. "And the fact that some men have more traditionally feminine qualities (and some women, more masculine) is entirely a consequence of nature and is universal across cultures as well, Rick."

    That depends on how you define "traditionally feminine", Pete. I don't regard enjoying cooking or liking the arts or crying as inherently "feminine" as some in this culture do--I just regard them as human.

    On the other hand, deliberately trying to mimic the behavior of women by dressing like them, talking like them, walking like them (behaviors that naturally differ between the genders due to physiology)......or relating to women exclusively, in preference to men (the "diva" phenomenon you see among gay men).......or preferring women socially to men and tending to side with them in conflicts against men......or hating sports (not just being apathetic about them).......these are all artificial, learned, and unnatural behaviors that one frequently observes among gay men that would constitute mal-adjustments of the sort I am referring to.

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 16, 2012 3:24:45 PM


  21. The sad truth is that gay or straight, elite athletes in general tend to have very warped notions of self-worth. They have trained and worked for so long and so tirelessly to be #1, and have felt the pressure of competition for such a huge part of their life, that their perception of their value as a human being is completely tied into that need to stand at the top of the podium.

    Of course, that's not to excuse the self-destructive behaviors of those athletes who fall into depression out of a sense of failure. And Mitcham should have known better. My point is that we should not express surprise or consider his experience as a statistical outlier. His sexuality has less to do with those factors that put him at risk for such abuse than the simple fact that he is a highly-ranked athlete in his sport.

    Posted by: atomic | Nov 16, 2012 3:25:05 PM


  22. Oh, and I should add, the most common mal-adjustment of all: physical cowardice and a tendency to run from fights, despite being perfectly capable of defending oneself, out of the internalized belief that one's sexuality makes one less than truly masculine....

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 16, 2012 3:26:53 PM


  23. Crystal Meth aka Tina is an epidemic in the gay community. And its slow taking over the black gay community as well. It's so sad because I've seen such bright, promising people fall to its allure. I tried it for a week and quickly realized I had to stop or I was gonna be in serious trouble. Luckily something inside me made me stop. But I know so many people who are still crippled by their addiction. We've got to support those in the clutches of addiction. It's very serious!

    Posted by: Nada | Nov 16, 2012 3:28:53 PM


  24. "The sad truth is that gay or straight, elite athletes in general tend to have very warped notions of self-worth"

    "His sexuality has less to do with those factors that put him at risk for such abuse than the simple fact that he is a highly-ranked athlete in his sport."

    Come on, Atomic. The vast majority of highly-ranked athletes are well-adjusted and do not abuse drugs, much less become addicted to them.

    I doubt that it is a coincidence that both Mitcham and Greg Louganis, perhaps the two most famous gay athletes of all time, had/have major psychological problems and that those problems have nothing to do with their sexual orientation.

    It is possible but unlikely.

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 16, 2012 3:33:58 PM


  25. Folks, rather than let Rick post his long-winded troll nonsense simply ask him for proof. You know. PROOF. As in a video or photo example that he is what he claims to be.

    After all, there's no way he's some maladjusted cowardly closeted grown adult who vents his fury anonymously online because he's really just a terribly insecure man who's ashamed of being gay...right?

    So, ask for proof. URL, youtube, blogspot, tumblr, instagram. anything.

    If one thinks running from fights is "unmanly", what then is refusing to one's self online?

    Mitcham, and many other brave LGBT people stand up to be counted.

    The miserable haters? Anonymous closet cases who treat the internet as a burqa.

    Call their bluff. See how they run ;-)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 16, 2012 3:35:52 PM


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