Sydney - Olympic
swimming great Grant Hackett is "alive and sober", his father told
media on Thursday after he went missing following a family bust-up,
sparking fears for his safety.
Hackett's father Neville said Australia's troubled former 1 500m world
record-holder, who was briefly detained this week after a domestic
incident, was in contact with police.
"Police officers are happy he's alive and sober," Neville Hackett
said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
"He's told the police officers he just wants to hide from everybody."
Hackett's father raised the alarm earlier Thursday after his
"mentally disturbed" son, 36, failed to turn up for appointments with a
doctor and a lawyer.
Hackett had posted a picture on social media showing himself with a black eye, and accused his brother of beating him up.
"He's in hiding from everybody, including us," Hackett's father said.
"I think he's very, very embarrassed, but let's see how things go."
The double Olympic gold medallist was released without charge
on Wednesday after his family called police following a reported bout of
heavy drinking which led to "uncontrollable rage".
His brother, Craig, said the former swimmer had mental health problems and was no longer the person he once knew.
On Thursday, Hackett a picture of himself on Instagram showing a cut and blackened right eye, and dry blood on his nose.
"My brother comments to the media... but does anyone know he beat the shit out of me," Hackett wrote in the caption.
Hackett came out of six years of troubled retirement in 2014 in a bid
to make the Rio Games, hoping to become the oldest Australian swimmer
to qualify for an Olympics.
But he narrowly missed out on a berth and after the Olympic trials in
Adelaide last April, he hit the headlines again after a meltdown on a
Hackett was accused
of drunkenly squeezing the nipple of a fellow business-class passenger
in an embarrassing incident which prompted him to vow to quit drinking.
"This is now a chronic problem... so, from a mental health
perspective, I hope something can be done," Craig Hackett said
"This is not Grant Hackett, this is a completely different person. I
don't know this person, my mum and dad don't know this person.
"He's there in body, but he is not there in mind, in soul, or spirit," he said.
Hackett mumbled a few words to reporters after his release, saying he was "not great" and "probably needed to" go into rehab.
Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates and Swimming Australia both offered their support.
"We are concerned for Grant's welfare," Coates said in a statement. "This is not the Grant we know and respect.
"Grant is a great Olympic champion, one of the greatest swimmers of all time... We hope he can overcome his current challenges."
Swimming Australia chief executive Mark Anderson added: "Given these
recent circumstances, we once again reached out to Grant and his family
to continue to offer support and assistance in any way we can."
Hackett retired after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, having won the 1500m
freestyle at both the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games. He also
claimed four world titles in the 30-length event.
But after retirement he quickly ran into problems with a messy
divorce and allegations he smashed up his Melbourne home in 2011. In
2014, he checked into a US rehabilitation clinic to treat an addiction
to sleeping pills.