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.
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 tarnish 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 professional help to correct his behaviour and will stop drinking, 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.