'Mentally disturbed' Olympic swimming great Grant Hackett reported missing - Times LIVE
   
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Sun Mar 26 01:35:40 SAST 2017

'Mentally disturbed' Olympic swimming great Grant Hackett reported missing

AFP | 2017-02-16 09:09:49.0
Olympic swimmer Grant Hackett of Australia. File photo
Image by: MIKE SEGAR / REUTERS

Olympic swimming great Grant Hackett was reported missing Thursday following a family bust-up and after he posted a picture of his bruised face on social media, claiming his brother beat him up.

The father of the former 1500m world record-holder, who was briefly detained by police this week, said he was worried about his safety, describing him as "mentally disturbed".

"He's definitely a missing person and he's definitely mentally disturbed," Neville Hackett told reporters on the Gold Coast.

"We're extremely worried," the Courier Mail quoted him as saying.

Grant, a double Olympic gold medallist, was released without charge Wednesday after his family called police following a reported bout of heavy drinking which led to "uncontrollable rage".

The father said he had reported his son missing Thursday after he failed to turn up for appointments with a doctor and a lawyer.

However, a Queensland police spokesman told AFP they would not comment on the reports of Hackett's disappearance.

His brother, Craig, said the former swimmer had mental health problems and was no longer the person he once knew.

On Thursday, Hackett a picture of himself on Instagram showing a cut and blackened right eye and dry blood on his nose. The photo appears to have been taken in a medical facility.

"My brother comments to the media... but does anyone know he beat the shit out of me," Hackett wrote in the caption.

Hackett came out of six years of troubled retirement in 2014 in a bid to make the Rio Games, hoping to become the oldest Australian swimmer to qualify for an Olympics.

But he narrowly missed out on a berth and after the Olympic trials in Adelaide last April, he hit the headlines again after a meltdown on a plane.

Hackett was accused of drunkenly squeezing the nipple of a fellow business-class passenger, in an embarrassing incident which prompted him to vow to quit drinking.

"This is now a chronic problem... so, from a mental health perspective, I hope something can be done," Craig Hackett said Wednesday.

"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.

"He's there in body, but he is not there in mind, in soul, or spirit," he said.

Hackett mumbled a few words to reporters after his release, saying he was "not great" and "probably needed to" go into rehab.

Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates and Swimming Australia offered their support.

"We are concerned for Grant's welfare," Coates said in a statement. "This is not the Grant we know and respect.

"Grant is a great Olympic champion, one of the greatest swimmers of all time, and his contribution to the Olympic Movement and to sport in general should not be forgotten.

"We hope he can overcome his current challenges and we have offered him any support he needs."

Swimming Australia chief executive Mark Anderson added: "Given these recent circumstances, we once again reached out to Grant and his family to continue to offer support and assistance in any way we can."

Hackett retired after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, having won the 1500m freestyle at both the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games. He also claimed four world titles in the 30-lap event.

But after retirement he quickly ran into problems with a messy divorce and allegations he smashed up his Melbourne home in 2011. In 2014 he checked into a US rehabilitation clinic to treat an addiction to sleeping pills.

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