‘Shattered’: Olympian’s 8-year confession


Former Olympian James Magnussen has admitted the fallout from the tumultuous 2012 Games in London left him "emotionally-scarred".

During Monday evening's episode on SAS Australia, Magnussen detailed how the 2012 Olympics took a devastating toll on his emotional wellbeing.

The Aussie swimmer was touted as the favourite to clinch a gold medal in the 100m freestyle event.

But despite leading for most of the race, Magnussen was pipped at the post by American Nathan Adrian, finishing an agonising 0.01 seconds behind the rival swimmer.

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Eight years later, Magnussen concedes he is still struggling to deal with the shock result, which came with a flood of media scrutiny. The 29-year-old also revealed he has not cried since the London Olympics.

James Magnussen after his narrow loss in the 100m Freestyle final.
James Magnussen after his narrow loss in the 100m Freestyle final.

"At the London Olympics, I lost. I got silver by one-hundredth of a second, which is the smallest margin you can have in sport," Magnussen said on SAS Australia.

"At the time, I was shattered. I thought, 'My whole life up until now has been a failure'.

"It's something that I haven't dealt with completely.

"I think the whole experience around London and the fallout has hardened me in a lot of ways, and I haven't cried since.

"That experience has left me a little bit emotionally-scarred, and as a result, showing emotion is not something that I've ever been very comfortable with."

Magnussen and five teammates in the Australian 4x100m freestyle team confessed to taking a banned subscription drug at a pre-Olympic camp in Manchester.

"It got pretty dark for a while there, when I was copping a lot of criticism, not only in the media, but when I was out in public as well," Magnussen said.

"As I was a 20-year-old kid, I didn't really know how to cope with that, so I made a decision back then that I'm never going to let emotions get the better of me again.

"I've had some really big achievements in my life since … the whole experience around London has hardened me."

James Magnussen after the 4x100m relay team finished a disappointing 4th.
James Magnussen after the 4x100m relay team finished a disappointing 4th.

Magnussen and the five others could have their bronze medals stripped after former swimmer Brenton Rickard tested positive to a banned substance earlier this month.

Rickard competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and was a member of the men's 4x100m medley relay team, which featured Magnussen.

As first reported by The Sydney Morning Herald's Samantha Lane, a re-screening of Rickard's sample he gave eight years ago tested positive to the diuretic Furosemide, a banned masking agent.

According to the report, the International Olympic Committee is seeking to disqualify Rickard's results from the London Games, in what would be an Australian first.


Originally published as 'Shattered': Olympian's 8-year confession