Olympic diver Matt Mitcham battled meth addiction
Beijing gold medalist Matt Mitcham says that a former meth addiction nearly destroyed his career--and his life.
In his upcoming book, Twists and Turns, Mitcham describes how issues with anxiety, self-esteem and depression led him down a bumpy road of drug use and, eventually, dependence.
Number 2 wasn't good enough
Currently in training for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, Mitcham said that even after winning gold, he didn't feel good enough being ranked No. 2.
"I had still failed to achieve my childhood dream of becoming the best in the world at something," he said.
Turning to drugs, Mitcham said he knew about the dangers of crystal meth, but that he found a sense of solace and relief that helped him take his mind off things. The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) wasn't aware that Mitcham had a drug problem before the London Olympics this year.
"We had no idea that he had a problem, he was his usual friendly, outgoing self in London," said AOC spokesman Mike Tancred. "He went out and supported all his teammates, was happy and chatty, the usual Matty.
The road to recovery
In his book, to be released Monday, Mitcham says that through the help of 12-step program Narcotic Anonymous and the support of friends and family, he was able to come to terms with his addiction and is now managing as a drug-free athlete.
On Friday, the AOC passed a rule that will now require future Olympic athletes to disclose any past drug use that falls under the category of "performance enhancers."
"We think that it is sad that such a talented athlete has been caught up with such a hideous drug, and we are glad to hear that he is on top of it," said Tancred.