Grant Hackett denies US rehab treatment
Olympic medallist swimmer Grant Hackett tells reporters at Los Angeles airport he's in the US for a "break" and not for rehabilitation. Nine News.PT0M48S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-33gdo 620 349 February 26, 2014
Olympic gold medallist Grant Hackett has denied claims by his manager that he is entering rehab for an addiction to prescription sleeping drugs, saying instead that he had travelled to the US for a planned "retreat".
The Australian swimming great touched down in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, and immediately denied reports that he was there to receive treatment for a dependency to Stilnox medication.
"No, I'm not calling this rehab whatsovever," the 33-year-old told reporters at the airport.
Grant Hackett: the former Olympic swimmer denies he's going to rehab. Photo: Getty Images
"This is a retreat, to get away for a while, to recharge the batteries which I have been planning for some time."
Hackett said he was planning to "get away for a little bit of time to myself", adding: "Everything will be fine, I'm just looking forward to a bit of a break."
His claims directly contradict a statement made by his manager, Chris White, who told News Limited on Tuesday that Hackett was seeking treatment for a prescription drug addiction.
"Grant is currently in transit to seek treatment for a dependency to Stilnox medication," News Limited quoted Mr White as saying.
"His family and friends are enormously proud of his courage in pursuing this course of action."
Fairfax Media has contacted Mr White for comment on Wednesday morning.
Hackett made headlines this week after being photographed in a state of undress at Melbourne's Crown Casino looking anxiously for his missing four-year-old son.
Hackett was barefoot and shirtless, and appeared to be wearing a singlet around his waist, in the foyer of the casino as he searched for his son Jagger, who had disappeared from the hotel where they were staying.
Security staff are believed to have found the child on the 20th floor of the complex.
Hackett later told News Limited he was driven by fear and panic when he realised his child was missing, and rushed out of the apartment with only one thing on his mind.
“I was focused solely on finding Jagger and nothing else," he said.
“When I discovered him missing I went in hasty pursuit, but perhaps with a swimmer's sense of dress."
Hackett was staying in an apartment at the casino to visit his twin children, Charlize and Jagger, following the divorce from his wife, Candice Alley.
The incident at Crown was not the first time the Olympian has attracted attention for unusual behaviour.
In 2011, police were called to his prestigious 57th floor apartment in Melbourne to find he had up-ended a piano and smashed doors and walls after a day out at Derby Day and Crown Casino.
Images showed an interior door ripped apart, a grand piano overturned, plastered walls punctured with large holes from punches, equipment on the ground, a toppled Christmas tree, smashed picture frames and empty bottles of alcohol on the floor.
Hackett on Tuesday would not discuss further details about his US trip, but said he would release a statement to clarify his position.