Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, who became an international gay role model after winning gold in the 2008 Olympics, has revealed that he battled a crystal meth addiction.

The admission is included in Mitcham’s new autobiography, Twists and Turns, which is being released this week.

The then 20-year-old Mitcham stunned the world when he beat out the Chinese favourite in the men’s 10 metre platform competition at the 2008 Beijing Games to earn the highest score ever earned in diving at the Olympics.

Despite his success and being ranked second in the world, the openly-gay athlete failed to reach the number one spot, something which he says led him to turn to recreational drugs.

“I had still failed to achieve my childhood dream of becoming the best in the world at something,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Mitcham as saying.

“Taking it [crystal meth] was something I did to take my mind off things that were upsetting me – to make me feel better about myself,” he said.

Mitcham failed to impress at the recent London Olympics, but is said to have overcome his addiction with the help of Narcotics Anonymous. He is now in training for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Australian Olympic Committee media director Mike Tancred told the Herald Sun: “We feel really sorry for Matthew that he had a problem with such a hideous drug because he is such a talented athlete.

“He was very friendly in London and very active on social media and just the normal outgoing Matthew. A nice fella and a great guy. He was always supporting his diving teammates. There was no outward indication of any dark problems.

“We would support him in overcoming this problem,” said Tancred.

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