MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: Grant Hackett arrives at the Prime Minister's Olympic Dinner at The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on June 18, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Grant Hackett ‘not there in mind, soul, spirit,’ brother says after latest trouble

Leave a comment

Olympic swimming gold medalist Grant Hackett was detained by police on Australia’s Gold Coast on Wednesday after his father called for help.

Hackett’s brother, Craig, said the family was struggling to cope with the 36-year-old retired swimmer’s mental health issues.

“The whole family have done everything that we can but now it’s kind of out of our hands,” Craig Hackett was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press. “The Grant Hackett that Australia fell in love with, they can still have that affection toward him. This is not ‘Grant Hackett.'”

Craig Hackett said his younger brother’s personality had become almost unrecognizable.

“This is a completely different person,” Craig Hackett said. “I don’t know this person, my mum and dad don’t know this person. He’s there in body, but he’s not there in mind, soul or spirit.”

Hackett’s father, former police detective Neville, called police to his Gold Coast home around noon Wednesday after two-time Olympic 1500m freestyle champion became agitated and aggressive.

The former swimming star agreed to go with police and was later released, but not before the episode had made national news.

“This is now a chronic problem and it looks like it’s not going to go away in a hurry,” Craig Hackett said. “From a mental health perspective I hope something can be done.

“To see someone who is so dominant and had the world at his feet to now, really we don’t know what’s going to happen — it doesn’t look encouraging.”

Hackett had a high profile as a swimmer and TV personality after winning gold in the 1500m at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympics, holding the world record in the event, and finishing with silver at Beijing in 2008.

After his TV career unraveled following a series of out-of-competition troubles, he tried to make a comeback for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro last year but didn’t qualify for the Australian team.

Last April, he publicly apologized for a drunken incident on a flight home from the Australian Olympic trials when he was accused of groping a male passenger who reclined the seat in front of him.

Hackett admitted he’d been drinking alcohol before the flight and would seek help to quit.

He said his career was tarnished by “pure stupidity, making poor decisions at crucial times in my life” and he felt “a huge amount of regret.”

Hackett said he struggled being back in the public spotlight after six years away from competitive swimming, leading to “unacceptable” and “embarrassing” actions.

“I have to live with that. It is very difficult. A deep sense of shame, guilt, embarrassment, of regret, I am so sorry for my actions and the people it has impacted,” he said.

Hackett traveled to the United States in 2014 to undergo treatment for a dependency on the sleeping medication Stilnox. His stint in rehabilitation followed the publication of a photograph of him partially nude and disoriented at a Melbourne hotel, searching for his young son, and the very public breakup of his marriage.

MORE: Australia gold medalist gets mole removed after heads-up from fan

Germany, with tie for gold, sweeps four-man bobsled medals to close worlds

INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA - FEBRUARY 05:  Francesco Friedrich, Candy Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis of Germany compete during the final run of the 4-man Bobsleigh BMW IBSF World Cup at Olympiabobbahn Igls on February 5, 2017 in Innsbruck, Austria.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images For IBSF)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

With a tie for four-man gold, Germany notched the first-ever men’s bobsled medal sweep at an Olympics or world championships on Sunday.

Francesco Friedrich and Johannes Lochner tied for the four-man world title with identical times after four runs of 3:14.10 in Koenigssee, Germany. Countryman Nico Walther took bronze, .16 behind.

The top American was 2010 Olympic champion Steven Holcomb in fifth. Holcomb was .01 out of bronze going into the fourth and final run but ended up. 18 behind Walther.

“This is really hard to swallow for these guys,” U.S. coach Brian Shimer said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “Holcomb’s team is starting to show signs of greatness, and they’ve come a long way for such a young push crew, and Holcomb continues to get back to his old self after a couple of years of injuries. I know he’s got to be really disappointed, but this race showed we’re taking a big step in the right direction.”

Germany completed a dominant world bobsled and skeleton championships by taking eight of the 15 medals in Olympic-program events. Last weekend, Friedrich earned his fourth straight world title in two-man bobsled.

Earlier Sunday, Latvian Martins Dukurs won his fifth skeleton world title in the last six editions. Dukurs, who settled for silver at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, beat German Axel Jungk by .37 after four runs in Koenigssee.

“I was really lucky, especially my fourth run was awful,” said Dukurs, who held on despite having the fourth-fastest third and fourth runs. “But that’s the past, luckily for me also the other guys made mistakes.”

Russian Olympian Nikita Tregybov took bronze. Olympic bronze medalist Matthew Antoine was the top American in seventh.

“I’m disappointed, seventh isn’t what I came here to achieve,” Antoine said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “I don’t think I slid all that poorly, but I didn’t push very well, and on a track like this, you can’t give up that much at the start and expect to have a good result. The reality is that I’m an Olympic medalist and results like this don’t mean anything to me.”

The race lacked one of the PyeongChang Olympic favorites, South Korean Yun Sung-bin, who skipped worlds to get more training time in South Korea.

The rest of the top bobsledders and skeleton sliders will join Yun in South Korea in March for training and the final World Cup stop at the 2018 Olympic venue.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Germany dominates women’s skeleton worlds

Mo Farah says he’s ‘done nothing wrong’ after report of drug misuse

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Sir Mo Farah of Great Britain celebrates winning the Men’s 5000 metres final during the Muller Indoor Grand Prix 2017 at Barclaycard Arena on February 18, 2017 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

LONDON (AP) — Quadruple Olympic champion Mo Farah maintained Sunday that he has always competed cleanly and never broken anti-doping rules, countering any association with “allegations of drug misuse.”

The British distance runner’s statement followed fresh accusations published in the London-based Sunday Times newspaper about his American coach’s use of medicines, based on information obtained by the hacking group known as Fancy Bears. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is investigating coach Alberto Salazar, who has been accused of skirting anti-doping rules while training some of his athletes at the Nike Oregon Project.

In a statement, Farah said it was “deeply frustrating” to be forced to respond when he has “done nothing wrong.”

“I am a clean athlete who has never broken the rules in regards to substances, methods or dosages and it is upsetting that some parts of the media, despite the clear facts, continue to try to associate me with allegations of drug misuse,” said Farah, who won the Olympic 5000m and 10,000m in 2012 and 2016.

Farah questioned the motivations of those publishing information suggesting any wrongdoing.

“As I’ve said many times before we all should do everything we can to have a clean sport and it is entirely right that anyone who breaks the rules should be punished,” Farah said. “However, this should be done through proper process and if USADA or any other anti-doping body has evidence of wrongdoing they should publish it and take action rather than allow the media to be judge and jury.”

USADA said it appeared that a draft of a report it was compiling was obtained by Fancy Bears.

“USADA can confirm that it has prepared a report in response to a subpoena from a state medical licensing body regarding care given by a physician to athletes associated with the Nike Oregon Project,” USADA spokesman Ryan Madden wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

“We understand that the licensing body is still deciding its case and as we continue to investigate whether anti-doping rules were broken, no further comment will be made at this time,” Madden added.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Ryan Hall says 7 marathons in 7 days gave him ‘sense of closure’