Despite suffering from low self-esteem as a child and ADHD, the Australian achieved his dream of being "the best in the world at something... (anything!)," when he won 10m platform gold at Beijing 2008.
The secret? A goal-setting strategy which transformed him from a nearly man into an Olympic champion.
After that, Mitcham took the world number one ranking in 2010 and the Commonwealth Games synchro title in 2014 before producing an award-winning autobiographical cabaret show entitled 'Twists and Turns'.
He also quit alcohol and largely avoided the pitfalls which often befall athletes who retire from sport in their 20s.
"As an Olympic champion, I’ve shared my winning strategies with audiences all over Australia. Now you can have the same experience in your own home, wherever you are." - Matthew Mitcham
Hailing from humble beginnings in Brisbane, Mitcham was a world junior champion in trampolining before being spotted by the diving coach at the Australian Institute of Sport.
In 2004, he won three silver medals at the World Junior Championships but failed to qualify for the Athens Olympic Games before claiming his first senior national title a year later.
Still only 18, he competed in four finals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne but missed out on a medal in all of them.
That prompted him to take a year out from the sport but, when he returned under new coach Chava Sobrino at the New South Wales Institute of Sport, things started to come together.
And at Beijing 2008, he produced the highest-scoring dive in Olympic history in the last round of the final to overcome a 34-point deficit to Zhou Luxin and win, making him the first openly gay Olympic champion.
"After years of diving with no formal goal-setting in place and few notable achievements, I took a year off and started from scratch with properly structured goals in place. Fifteen months later, I won at the Olympic Games."
Despite personal struggles, including an addiction to methamphetamine, Mitcham collected four silver medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi as Alexandre Despatie and Tom Daley dominated proceedings.
Four years later in Scotland, he was able to end his career having secured an elusive Commonwealth Games gold medal in the synchro 10m platform with Domonic Bedggood.
That year also saw him develop his career in entertainment, turning his autobiography 'Twists and Turns' into a successful cabaret after a crowdfunding campaign.
Now 32, Mitcham has appeared on reality TV shows in Australia and become an engaging motivational speaker and MC.
If you join him on the Airbnb Experience, maybe he'll sing a song accompanied by his trusty ukulele.
You can connect with the world's best athletes like never before. Sign up at [Airbnb.com/experiences](https://www.airbnb.co.uk/s/experiences?refinementpaths%5B%5D=%2Fexperiences%2FKG%2FTag%3A7073) and interact directly with Matthew, or some of your other favourite Olympic and Paralympic athletes.