Grant Hackett’s former coach says team officials gave Olympian Stilnox

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Image courtesy of Sarah Ewart, CC BY-SA 3.0

Image courtesy of Sarah Ewart, CC BY-SA 3.0

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Grant Hackett’s former coach says the Olympic swimming champion’s Stilnox addiction is the price he paid for his success in the pool.

Hackett’s long-time mentor Denis Cotterell says the triple Olympic gold medallist was given the sleeping medication by team officials who didn’t tell him it was addictive until he’d been taking it for years.

Cotterell said Hackett was given Stilnox by team staff throughout his career, which included a decade-long unbeaten 1500m freestyle run, to aid sleep on long team flights and on the eve of a big race.

Cotterell said staff only told them it was addictive years after first offering it. “Unfortunately being on those teams so long probably deepened the addiction,” he said.

Asked if the addiction was the price Hackett paid for his success, Cotterell said: “Absolutely. We would go on a plane and the doctor gave us some because he couldn’t go to sleep.

“He started doing that every meet. And when you are on the team for 12 years, and you are winning, you don’t change too much. “Then all of a sudden they turn around and say, ‘By the way it is addictive.'”

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