When fly boy becomes cry boy

Boo Hoo Matthew Mitcham, olympic diver, crystal meth addict and, oh, author.

Hot on the heels of Thorpie’s book, where he revealed he suffered from depression, the press are saying that Mark Mitcham’s book reveals the rigours and stress of realising that olympic dream.

I’m just waiting for Steve Hooker‘s book where he reveals depression from being both a ranga and an olympic athlete. And Stephanie Rice, oh, the deprivation from being a Golden Girl and a fast and loose tweeter. Then there’ll be the awesome foursome and the entire 2012 male swim team.

It’s tough winning gold and then … not. But not as tough as writing a book with no plot. Early mornings of freestyle practice and lunches of protein shakes are not an enthralling read. It’s pretty hard to flog a book in time for Christmas that makes swim strategy sound exciting. So, enter the addiction, the battle with depression, the crystal meth – makes a non Olympic performance more readable.

Now, I don’t want to suggest (even though I just did) that Thorpie and Mitcham didn’t suffer real problems, apart from bombing out, that is. Thorpie seems like a sensitive kind of guy, and has been a good ambassador for Australian sport and Australia in general. He did a good job with the BBC swim commentary team from all accounts at the olympics and is a different mould of sports hero. Ditto Mitcham, who has an engaging kind of manner, and clearly has had to be brave enough to come out and be an Australian sports star. Takes guts.

Maybe Thorpie did suffer depression, only he knows that. Maybe Mitcham did experiment badly with crystal meth. Maybe both things are true. But … it also makes good book fodder. And is their struggle any less applicable for olympic team members who work hard but don’t get anywhere and no-one knows their name and they don’t suffer depression, but are just a bit glum about it all. Or they don’t get into the crystal meth scene, they just drink a few extra wines than they should at night with dinner. I’m sure this must happen but if they tried writing a book, apart from their mum, who would care?

Anyway, I won’t be buying either book. Or Stephanie’s, or the male swim team. Instead I’ll take potshots from the side. I’ve got an olympic medal in that.


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