Other Sport

Oz great Hackett in rehab

2014-02-26 11:03
Grant Hackett (File)

Sydney - Australian swimming great Grant Hackett is seeking treatment for addiction to prescription drugs, his manager and father said Wednesday, days after he was pictured half-naked in a hotel lobby looking for his young son.

Hackett, who won the 1 500m freestyle at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and claimed four world titles in a dominant decade at the top, jetted to the United States on Tuesday, apparently to begin rehabilitation.

It comes just weeks after fellow Australian swimming star Ian Thorpe began treatment for depression after a mixture of painkillers and anti-depressants left him disoriented on a Sydney street.

"Grant is currently in transit to seek treatment for a dependency to Stilnox medication," his manager Chris White said in a statement.

"His family and friends are enormously proud of his courage in pursuing this course of action."

Stilnox is a drug used to treat insomnia, with athletes sometimes prescribed it if they are having trouble sleeping before big events, although it was banned by the Australian Olympic Committee just before the 2012 London Games.

However, on arrival in Los Angeles, Hackett told waiting Australian media that he was in the United States for a "retreat".

"No, I'm not calling this rehab whatsoever," he said. "This is a retreat, to get away for a while, to recharge the batteries which I have been planning for some time."

His father Neville said his son was "in denial".

"I think Grant is a little bit in denial, he thinks he just needs a bit of a recharge and a rest," Neville Hackett told Sydney radio station Triple M.

"I'd say rehab is certainly something that's needed there."

He added that his son would not be able to "fool the experts for long", saying that family had organised the treatment for him.

"We got onto the best experts we could who were available. They suggested the US after two meetings we had, and that's how it's all come about," he said.

"We weren't about to tell the world about this, of course, because we consider it a private family matter, but Grant being who he is, it's all over the media."

Asked what the main issue was, he replied: "I would suspect Stilnox but I can't be a 100 percent sure and that is why we have taken that action we've taken."

Hackett's departure from Australia came just days after he was photographed in the early hours with only a singlet around his waist in the foyer of a Melbourne hotel, searching anxiously for his four-year-old son.

The former great, 33, retired from the pool in 2008 and has worked for the Nine Network and Westpac Bank since then.

But his reputation took a huge hit after he trashed his apartment in an alcohol-fuelled rampage in 2011 that saw his wife Candice Alley leave him. They have two young children.

His father said that since then his son had suffered "two years of hell, living by himself, working hard".

The lanky Queenslander burst onto the scene at the 1998 world championships in Perth as a 17-year-old, where he lost the 400m final to a 15-year-old Thorpe.

The pair went on to help Australia's swimming team to the nation's best run of success since the golden days of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Read more on:    swimming

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Caster Semenya has been nominated for the 2018 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award. Which of the nominees deserves the award most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.