Grant Hackett’s former coach Denis Cotterell has no doubt the controversial sleeping medication Stilnox cost the 1500 freestyle champion his third and historic Olympic gold medal. Read The Australian
According to Cotterell, Hackett had slipped into an adaptation phase after swimming two astonishing broken 1500m time trials at the Australian team’s staging camp in Singapore and began to panic when he arrived in Beijing to find that his speed had deserted him.
“He couldn’t sleep so he took the Stilnox to settle his nerves,” Cotterell said. “For sure that contributed to his lack of clarity in the 1500m final. I’ve got no doubts about that.”
However, another source claimed that Hackett’s fuzzy swim in the final was rather the result of team officials banning him from using Stilnox after the drug had affected him badly. As a consequence, Hackett hardly slept the night before the 1500m final.
Read also here on the Herald Sun how swimming great Susie O’Neill warns athletes on the over-use of these pills. And here how retired Australian Olympic swimmer Nicole Livingstone says “Thereis a culture of uppers and downers in elite sport.” That it can bring Olympic gold, but leave a nasty legacy.