He squandered a chance to commentate the Olympics with a drunken meltdown on a flight in April.
But Australian swimmer Grant Hackett is trying his best to move on from the embarrassing incident, and has advice for the nation’s new Olympic champion, Kyle Chalmers.
‘You have to be able to pick up and move on, otherwise you would live on a hill somewhere and become a hermit,’ the 36-year-old told the Daily Telegraph.
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Moving on: Grant Hackett is hosting a two-hour program for Al Jazeera across the Middle East and Africa as he attempts to move on from April’s embarrassing mid-flight incident
‘It’s never easy and always challenging, as I’m a normal human being at the end of the day, but there are always eyes on me and I recognise that.’
The troubled former swimming star said he was trying to work on himself and become a better person, and that he had the support of friends and family.
But instead of hosting with Channel Seven, he’s keeping busy hosting a two-hour program for Al Jazeera across the Middle East and Africa covering the Rio Olympics.
The sporting star also confirmed he was in a new relationship, following his split from wife Candice Alley 2012 after he smashed up their house the night of a drunken Logies.
Making strides: The troubled former swimming star said he was trying to work on himself and become a better person, and that he had the support of friends and family
Embarrassment: Hackett was accused of tweaking a male passenger’s nipple ‘quite forcefully’ on a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne, having drunk heavily before the flight
Last month he splashed tens of thousands of dollars brand new Mercedes for his belle of just eight weeks, a law graduate believed to be in her 20s.
It came soon after he was seen cuddling up to a mystery blonde woman on the Gold Coast, with whom he was drinking red wine despite vowing to stay sober.
Grant confessed one of the worst things about not being on the ground in Rio was being unable to mentor young swimmers who went through the same experience as him.
Former flame: The 36-year-old split from his wife Candice Alley 2012
Troubled past: Their breakup came after he smashed up their house the night of a drunken Logies
He shot to fame aged 20 at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 when he won the 1500m freestyle after a bag of gold medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
The former world record holder had some advice for surprise swimming sensation Kyle Chalmers who won the 100m freestyle earlier this week.
As Grant would know, the 18-year-old’s life will now change forever and he said it would be a ‘real big test’ for him as he would be ‘pulled every which way’.
Swimming star: Hackett is one of the most successful swimmers in Australian history, and has held world records in the 200m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle
Passing the torch: Grant (right) with Olympic legend Kieran Perkins (left) at the 2000 Olympics
‘He will be pulled every which way’: Grant had some advice for surprise swimming sensation Kyle Chalmers (pictured) who won the 100m freestyle earlier this week
‘I think the only advice I would give him, is make time for yourself and make sure you stay close to your family and your closest friends, and always be guided by them, because they always have your best interests,’ the former champion said.
Grant is now studying a master’s degree in finance as he prepares to move to a new phase of his life.
TIMELINE OF GRANT HACKETT’S SCANDALS
2011 – He smashed up the multi-million dollar penthouse he shared with his then-wife, Candice Alley, and their two children, in an alcohol-fuelled rage following the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
2012 – Hackett was kicked out of the marital home in 2012 following a drunken night out after the Logies.
2014 – In February 2014 he was photographed wandering around Crown Casino in Melbourne in his underpants. It later emerged that he had taken the sleeping pill Stilnox on the night that the infamous pictures were taken.
2016 – In April he was accused of tweaking a male passenger’s nipple ‘quite forcefully’ on a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne after the man reclined his chair. He later revealed he drank more than half a bottle of gin before the meltdown, and was also on antibiotics at the time.