- Matthew Mitcham revealed how he struggled to accept his sexuality
- Olympic diver said he knew he was gay from the age of five
- Mitcham appears on Channel 7’s SAS Australia in Jordan
Matthew Mitcham has revealed how he struggled to accept his sexuality and even went so far as to train himself not to be gay.
Mitcham, 35, made a shocking confession during his interrogation on SAS Australia by Anthony Middleton in Tuesday night’s episode.
The Olympic diver, who became the first openly gay athlete to win gold after his triumph at the 2008 Games, said he tried to repress his sexuality from a young age.
“I was the only child in a single-parent family and obviously (my mother’s) life was difficult, so the easiest way to make it as easy as possible for me was to control myself through fear.
“I knew for five years that I liked boys. Thanks to elementary school and religion, shame began to set in.
Matthew Mitcham revealed how he struggled to accept his sexuality
Olympic diving hero knew from a young age he was attracted to boys
“So I put a rubber band around my wrist because I knew being gay was a really bad thing.
“Every time I had a bad thought, I would snap the rubber band around my wrist to try to associate the pain with it and try to train myself not to be gay anymore.”
Mitcham added that his feelings of guilt culminated in his attempt to take his own life.
“When I was overwhelmed by the feelings I was having inside, I would cut myself off,” he said. “After one particular episode, I went too far and had to call my grandmother to take me to the hospital.”
Mitcham has previously spoken about his battle with alcohol and methamphetamine as he struggled to cope with a “post-Games comedown” following the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
After his triumph in Beijing, he developed a drug addiction when he discovered he was not world number one in the world rankings, despite his Olympic success.
Incredibly, the diver felt like a failure and soon found himself training and competing while juggling a crippling drug addiction.
“Knowing that I would be drug tested at every competition, I would detox (from drugs) in the weeks leading up to the competition and go through these horrible withdrawals,” he told the BBC.
“They were so bad that I promised myself I wouldn’t use every cell in my body again, but I could never keep my promise.”
Mitcham is married to OnlyFans star Luke Rutherford (left)
‘It got dark. My self-esteem was broken, sometimes killing myself seemed like the easiest way to deal with it, but I ultimately decided to go to rehab.
In January, Mitcham celebrated seven years of sobriety after his addiction to crystal meth and alcohol nearly ended his career.
He announced the milestone on Instagram, saying he was “the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been.”
“Today I am SEVEN YEARS clean and sober,” Mitcham wrote.
“It’s been seven years since I put anything stronger than a Panadol in my body, and I’m without a doubt the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been.”