Hackett sorry for ‘pure stupidity’, quits alcohol



Three-time Olympic gold medallist Grant Hackett admits his behaviour on a recent flight to Melbourne was “pure stupidity” and he will have to live with the consequences of his decorated career being “tarnished”.

Hackett made his first public appearance on Friday since he was involved in an incident with a passenger on a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne on April 17 after the Australian swimming championships.

The passenger alleged he had been groped on the chest by Hackett, who was questioned by Australian Federal Police officers at Melbourne Airport after the flight and later released without charge.

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Hackett, speaking in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, highlighted he had been affected by alcohol during the flight but he offered no excuses for his behaviour.

“It [his career] definitely has a tarnished to it,” he said.

“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.

“Your kids are at the front of that line, your family members, close friends, Australian swimmers, all the athletes around the sport.

“I only wanted to be an advocate and a help to the sport and I love the sport and I love the athletes within the sport, and what they are doing in trying to achieve.

“I wanted to support that through my actions but pure stupidity, making poor decisions at crucial times in my life, I have compromised that and myself and a huge amount of regret around that.”

Hackett said he would be looking to get help to correct his behaviour, as he wanted to set a positive example to his children.

“I will be seeking help around this,” he said.

“That is an issue, something that needs to be addressed and I am doing that.

“I want a happy and prosperous life and I have two little children that I love and I want to make sure everything that I do is positive for them.

“They are young enough not to see all this stuff at this stage but they grow up, there is a thing called the Internet, they will see things and I will have those conversations one day and I want to make sure that I don’t put myself in compromising situations.”

Hackett keen to support Aussie Olympic swim team

Hackett, who had been seeking selection for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics at the national titles, said he still hoped to be able to support the Australian team in Brazil in some capacity.

The Australian Olympic Committee said earlier this month it had not made any decision on whether Hackett would be allowed to mentor the swimming team in Rio following the in-flight incident.

“That was just talk [about the mentor role], we had not confirmed anything, it was just speculative,” he said.

“So from my point of view, I support the guys on the team. The most important people are the team members and their performance.

“They only get this opportunity once every four years so if I can support that on a personal level and give them guidance and help in understanding of how to win and compete at an Olympic Games, I will provide that and I do that all the time anyway.”

Hackett has previously made headlines following incidents that took place in the years that followed his first retirement from swimming after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Police were called to Hackett and ex-wife Candice Alley’s home in 2011 after a heated dispute left the apartment “in disarray”, while he also admitted to becoming reliant on the sleeping pill Stilnox during the Beijing Games.

Hackett was admitted to a Gold Coast hospital last week with a throat condition.

He had been suffering from uvulitis, a condition that involves severe swelling to the uvula at the back of the throat.

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