Once the Olympic Games wrap up every four years, it’s not just the host venues that can become shells of their former selves—but the medal-winning athletes themselves.
In the wake of champion swimmer Grant Hackett’s latest show of public shitfacery, we decided to take a look at other Olympians who’ve cut way loose after a lifetime of strict schedules gave way for reality—a future without sport, and no discernible skills to speak of.
And after running through the list, one can’t help but arrive at a common theme—that these Olympians are effectively the Catholic School kids with the strict parents who were never allowed out of the house during school and then became drunken monsters and drug fiends the moment they moved out of home. Both are sad stories.
These guys give even the wildest surfers and skaters a run for their money.
You know you’ve hit rock bottom when your own parents call the popo on you. And fair enough, given the Hackman was shit-hammered in the middle of the morning wielding a knife and yelling obscenities. If he wasn’t white, One Nation would likely accuse him of being a terrorist. Bad jokes aside, Hackett’s a national treasure. And going through a mental breakdown isn’t something you’d want your worst enemy (debatable) to suffer. The triple gold medallist arrest is just the latest in a string of catastrophes, which date back to the first instance when he trashed his penthouse and punched holes in the walls and overturned a piano, forcing his then wife to call the police. He split with his wife soon after, then ended up in rehab for an addiction to Stilnox and booze. In 2014 he wandered Crown Casino half naked after losing toddler son—all caught on CCTV—then last year he was removed from a flight after allegedly assaulting another passenger with a purple nurple (seriously). Get well soon, buddy.
Another star of the pool, a shit hammered Hueg’s was arrested in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley back in 2007 for allegedly getting into a scrap with a security guard at a late night taxi rank when the guard called the Olympian out for jumping the queue—which we can all agree is a dick move. The cops were called and Huegs allegedly took a swing, which the officers didn’t take kindly to. Though the champion swimmer had a different story. And a pretty fucking good one. “A verbal disagreement broke out…nothing was physical at any stage,” Huegs said at the time. “The next thing I know I was dragged away in the paddy wagon…To have a rent-a-cop barking orders at a cop…and for it to be blown out to this proportion, it’s embarrassing. At the end of the day I did the wrong thing by jumping a taxi line.” Then just recently the poor bastard, who bounced back in a big way, got busted sharing a baggie with his wife at the racecourse. Life’s good for the big dog now though.
Yep, another swimmer. These blokes are the human equivalent of competitive greyhounds dumped in the wild after they’re no longer of use. And Miller, by all accounts a good bloke, was at a loose end after his swimming career ended prematurely courtesy of testing positive for weed in 1997. In 2009 he was arrested for being in possession of a stolen pill press and supplying ecstasy. Cops searched his premises and found more than $240,000 in cash, a revolver and steroids, to name but a few goodies. He escaped with two years of good behaviour before being arrested near Kings Cross in 2013 for dealing ice. He had more than $15,000 in cash when he was arrested. He’s since been released and said to be on the straight and narrow.
The kayak world champ and dual Olympic silver medallist seemingly had the world at his feet after being named the Australian Institute of Sport’s Athlete of the Year in 2004. But within 12 months he was found guilty of lacing his OJ with steroids and was subsequently banned for two years, which was just the beginning of a severe downhill spiral. The same year his plea to return to competitive canoeing was rejected, Baggaley was arrested twice on the Gold Coast for being in possession of thousands of ecstasy tablets, MDMA, and dealing. He was also charged with stealing a surfski from Byron Bay Surf Club, then while in jail three years later was caught with drugs. In 2013 he was arrested again, this time by federal police for importing psychedelic drugs.
A 2004 diving gold medallist, Newbery was a golden girl of the pool whose life took a turn in 2012. Struggling to overcome the loss of her Mum and marriage, Newbery turned to ice and has been arrested for both drug use and stealing a vehicle since. Arguably the saddest story of the lot, Newbery had her shit together and was working as a diving coach and scout before the controversy saw her become unemployed.