OPINION: When sporting stars fall from grace
FOR some sporting legends retirement and growing old gracefully doesn't easily go hand in hand.
When you compete at the highest level and have any measure of success it must be very difficult to know the precise moment to pull the pin.
Too many times, sporting champions retire too early and then attempt to make a comeback when time has passed them by and younger athletes have moved up the ranks to replace them.
Grant Hackett may be having that sporting mid-life crisis right now.
The swimmer, 35, narrowly missed out on making the Rio Olympics and then seemingly imploded on the flight home from Adelaide.
He's alleged to have grabbed the nipple of a fellow passenger.
Now we are told Hackett has been admitted to hospital with a throat condition.
Let's hope the former 1500m world record holder can get his life together and regain some lost dignity.
It's similar, in a way, to Ian Thorpe's ill-fated exit from swimming.
After his heroics at the Sydney and Athens Olympics, Thorpie attempted to qualify for the 2012 Games in London.
It didn't really work out for Thorpe, whose best years were obviously behind him as he floundered in the Olympic trials.
There were a series of incidents afterwards with reports that Thorpe had checked into a rehab clinic in 2014.
It must be a very difficult path to go from sporting star to also ran, but I'd like to remember Hackett for his heroic deeds in the pool and not "nipplegate".