Matthew Mitcham Opens Up About His Meth Addiction, Depression and Celebrity Splash

Diver, Olympic gold medalist and social force of the yearMatthew Mitcham, has spoken publicly for the first time about his addiction to crystal meth, his struggles with clinical depression and self-harm, and his possible involvement with televised bad decisionCelebrity Splash, in both a revealing profile penned by Benjamin Law in today’s Good Weekend and a new memoir Twists and Turns.

In each, Mitcham reveals that he battled an addiction with methamphetamine that developed in the interim period between the Beijing and London Olympics, one that stemmed from a history of mental health issues and recreational drug use that arose out of a turbulent adolescence, one that sounds much more difficult than a back two and a half somersault with a two and a half twist.
Here are a select few things we learned about Mitcham, the ridiculously likeable pin up for Australian diving and friend of the Internet (hence the GIFs), from his Good Weekend profile of refreshing candour and unforeseen struggle.
Mitcham’s clinical depression was compounded by his drug abuse, which “came into my life because of all the injuries.” Mitcham, who’s known for his exceptionally sunny disposition, ukelele covers of Beyonce jams and fondness for donning a head to toe Vegemite print pyjama set, also became an expert at hiding his addiction, as addicts are wont to do: “Nobody suspected anything. I’d done such a good job at hiding it and maintaining my functionality, but it scared the shit out of me that I didn’t have control. I’d always said to myself, ‘I’ll stop as soon as I want to.’ And as soon as I wanted to, it wasn’t that easy. That was terrifying. And it was getting closer and closer to the Olympics…

Mitcham enjoyed Toy Story so much – who didn’t?! – that the epigraph from his memoir is a quote from the heart-wrenching animation classic: “That wasn’t flying! That was falling with style.” Other quotes from Toy Story that would have made for an acceptable epigraph for Mitcham’s memoir: “I don’t believe that man’s ever been to medical school!,” “I’m not really from Mattel, I’m actually from a smaller company that was purchased by Mattel in a leveraged buyout,” and “The claw chooses who will go and who will stay.
Mitcham was discovered by an AIS diving instructor while showing off at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre as a youth. He honed his skills while training 30 hours a week and on a rusty trampoline in his backyard. All that lead on to him becoming the highest-scoring diver in Olympic history, the first male Australian diver to win gold in 84 years and the first Olympic gold medallist to compete as an openly gay man. No biggie.
Matthew Mitcham can swear in Spanish, which would come in handy when competing in such a physically taxing sport. A dozen D-Grade celebrities are currently rethinking their engagement with Celebrity Splash after reading about all the coughing up blood, ganglions (which aren’t as fun as they sound), stress fractures and abdominal tears involved in diving. In fact, they’re most likely inevitable. Good luck, Home & Away alum who haven’t yet competed on Dancing With The Stars! Your time is now.
Following a brief period of estrangement from his mother, the two reconnected as friends by “[going] out partying,” which sounds exhausting.
Speaking of, Mitcham will neither confirm nor deny a possible involvement with Celebrity Splash: “Nothing will be confirmed for a while yet.” As Australia’s, and one of the world’s, highest profile divers I can’t think of a reason why you would watch a show about diving (or produce one) if Mitcham wasn’t somehow involved.
Awe-inducing accomplishments and triumph over adversity aside, the feat I find most inspiring about Mitcham is that he’s studying linguistics at University, the most heinously boring subject I’ve ever encountered. 
Like Ian Thorpe more recently, and fellow Olympic diving medalist Chantelle Newbery, Mitcham’s frank and open discussion of his depression and addiction forms part of a necessary dialogue about mental health issues surrounding elite athletes – and those of us who can’t dive – that might otherwise go unnoticed between Olympiads. You can find more information here at LifelineBeyondBlueReach OutHeadspace and Sane
Mitcham’s memoir, Twists and Turns, is out Monday.