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Australian History

On This Day in Australia: In 2001, Grant Hackett set a world record in the 1500 m freestyle


Grant Hackett

On 29 July 2001, swimmer Grant Hackett set a world record in the 1500 metre freestyle at Fukuoka, Japan

Grant George Hackett OAM was born on 9 May 1980 at Southport on the Gold Coast of Queensland. He is the son of a policeman and younger brother of a Surf Lifesaving champion. He attended Merrimac State High School.

He is most famous for winning the men’s 1500 metres freestyle race at both the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. This achievement has led him to be regarded as one of the greatest distance swimmers in history.

He also collected a gold medal in Sydney for swimming in the heats of the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay. He was well regarded for his versatility, and has held the long course world records in the 200 m, 800 m, and 1500 m freestyle events.

He dominated the 1500 m event for a decade, being undefeated in the event in finals from 1996 until the 2007 World Aquatics Championships. In total, he has won 10 long-course world championship gold medals.

Hackett was the captain of the Australian swimming team from the time the role was reintroduced in 2005 until his retirement in 2008.

Hackett worked for the Nine Network, often hosting Wide World of Sports. Hackett’s contract as a Westpac Banking Corporation ambassador was not renewed in February 2012 after 13 years in the role, but he remains an employee of the organisation.

Hackett holds a double degree in commerce and law, and an executive MBA from Bond University. He also has a diploma of financial services.

On 14 April 2007, Hackett married Australian singer Candice Alley. In March 2009, Hackett announced that his wife was expecting twins and in September she gave birth to a son named Jagger Emilio and a girl named Charlize Alley.

On 29 October 2011, police were called to attend a dispute at Hackett and Alley’s Melbourne apartment, which was reportedly found in disarray. On 3 May 2012, Alley and Hackett announced that they were separating. They divorced in August 2013.

Hackett was questioned by police for an alleged assault during a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne on 17 April 2016. Police sources say that he “went to the toilet for an extended period, taking a bag with him. He emerged aggressive and agitated, taking offence to a male business class passenger who reclined his seat”. 

He reportedly abused and grabbed the passenger on the chest before crew restrained him and contacted Federal Police. The victim alleged he was sexually assaulted, accusing Hackett of groping him. The man alleged that Hackett “tweaked my nipple quite forcefully.” 

Hackett said he had no recollection of touching the man’s nipple, and said that the incident followed a period of heavy drinking. Hackett said he “stuffed up” and was embarrassed by his actions. The victim chose not to press charges after receiving a personal apology.

On 15 February 2017 Hackett was arrested following a disturbance at his parents’ house on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Hackett had previously admitted a reliance on sleeping pills and had been battling mental health issues. 

Later that same day, his parents reported him missing from home, but before he was reported missing, Hackett posted a photo of himself on Instagram with cuts and bruises to his face and said his brother had beaten him. Hackett was subsequently found safe.

In December 2020, Hackett married his partner Sharlene Fletcher, where they have a son Edward together. He is an advocate for Mental Health.

Hackett received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000, and both a Centenary Medal and a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2001, the latter for his 2000 gold medal win. 

In 2004 he was granted the “Key to the City of Gold Coast” in recognition of his outstanding achievement as a swimming champion. He was named as the Australian Swimmer of the Year in 2005, and was also named the Swimmer of the Year by the Swimming World magazine.

In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, Grant Hackett was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for his role as a “sports legend”.

In 2010 he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2014.

Source: Wikipedia

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

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