CANBERRA, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) — Australian butterfly swimming champion Geoff Huegill on Saturday night for the first time revealed he abused recreational drugs and had suicidal thoughts, when he retired from swimming after the 2004 Athens Olympics.
It is well known that the swimming legend battled with binge drinking and junk food, which saw him put on 45kg and suffer from depression, but the admission of drug use is likely to shock many.
Huegill, 32, detailed his brush with alcohol, drugs and debt collectors in his new book Be Your Best.
|Xinhua File Photo of Geoff Huegill|
He said he has made the admission in his new book because "sooner or later, the truth catches up with you" and he wanted others to learn from his mistakes.
"My life from about 2005 to 2007, I experimented with many different things. I guess that’s a story that’s in my past," he told the Nine Network on Saturday.
"I remained trapped because I was so ineffective in my life outside the pool.
"The usual cycles kicked in again, plenty of alcohol and party drugs. I was arriving home from clubbing at 4am, the hour I used to be getting up and training. I now had debt collectors to deal with."
After 16 years of intense swimming, he said he had no idea of the real world.
"The swimming world, it’s a pretty sheltered world," he said. "I had to learn pretty fast what the real world was like."
He credits his wife Sara, whom he met in 2007, with turning his life around. He also thanks life coach Keith Saggers for his help.
Huegill returned to swimming in 2008 and won two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. Huegill is also an ambassador for the Black Dog Institutes’ Exercise Your Mood Campaign, which promotes the benefits of exercise in tackling depression.
He said television shows like Underbelly glamorized drug use.
"The glorification of shows like Underbelly only make it worse because the young kids of today think that’s a glamorous world or the real world that we live in when ultimately, it’s not," he said.
Huehill is a multiple Olympic, World, Pan Pacific and Commonwealth Games medalist, and a previous world record holder in the 50m butterfly.