Grant Hackett is in trouble, there’s no denying that. He was arrested on the Gold Coast this week after the Police were called to his parents’ house following a disturbance in which his father stated his son was having a ‘mental breakdown’.
Subsequently in the hours since the arrest various family members have gone on TV commenting on the situation with his brother Craig stating “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”.
This morning Hackett posted on Instagram a photo of himself with facial injuries with the caption “My brother comments to the media…but does anyone know he beat the shit out of me”. This is a family mess being played out in public.
Since retiring initially after the 2008 Beijing Olympics he has put himself through the ringer, in 2011 he trashed his Melbourne apartment and shortly after separated from his wife, in 2012 he admits to using the sleeping pill, Stilnox, then goes into rehab, months later he is asked to leave a Logies after party and in 2014 is found in Crown Casino wandering around half-naked looking for his son.
In 2015 probably as an attempt to bring structure and discipline to his life, at 35 years of age a swimming comeback is mounted in a bid to make the team for Rio, he misses out on a spot. Today, just hours ago his father filed a missing persons report with the Police after nobody had heard from his son for several hours, he has since contacted his father.
It sounds like he is a man bent on self-destruction, another former athlete lost in a drug and alcohol wilderness who can’t get his life together. Right now the gold medals and world records are light years away, a distant memory of past glory.
I don’t know Grant, I have met him a couple of times and was actually inducted with him into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2010. The reality is only his family members and those close to him know how much of his current situation is his fault, maybe he can’t get out of his own way, who knows?
I do know how hard it is to transition from an all-encompassing driving passion that is professional sport to life afterwards; if you’re not ready it’s a kick in the teeth. For that reason I do feel empathy, whatever happens I hope he gets the help he needs to turn things around because whatever mental demons he’s fighting you wouldn’t wish that on anyone.