Grant Hackett has fronted the media for the first time since his extensively-publicised and equally bizarre in-flight altercation with another passenger. The triple-Olympian and accused nipple-crippler said the whole ordeal was spurred by stress and alcohol, and he admitted the incident made him “re-evaluate” his life. 

As it would. 

According to News.com.au, Hackett vowed he’d “get off the drink” due to his actions; he corroborated multiple eye-witness reports of the situation, explaining “I got on the flight, a gentleman put his seat back, I said, ‘Would you mind putting it up?’”

“I offended him, I had no intent to offend him inappropriately and from there the rest is history…

“I don’t want to get into a he said, she said situation.

“Independent witnesses articulated what happened very well and I stand by the statements they made and they got to see what played out.”

In regards to the claim he fondled / pinched / unnecessarily handled the passenger’s nipple, Hackett kept mum, and shot down reports the victim would be pressing sexual harassment charges. 

“Did I mean to touch him inappropriately? If I did, I am very sorry, I didn’t mean to, I didn’t mean to offend him.

“I’ve chatted with them several times and sorted it out and on a personal level everything is fine.”

Although Hackett has been open about his substance abuse issues in the past, he’s assigned some responsibility for this one to his alcohol consumption following his failed Olympic trial.

“The stress of the Olympic trials and all the things that followed beyond that, the expectations, the attention — it’s a lot to deal with.

“I don’t say this as an excuse but I am trying to contextualise the situation but at the end of the day, getting myself into that situation is not acceptable and something I need to remedy.”

Finally, he reaffirmed he’d still be linked with the swim team on the way to Rio – but he wasn’t 100% sure how he’d still be involved. 

The whole thing doesn’t really smack of ‘Olympic role-model’, but if his 2016 bid is anything to go by, the bloke loves a strong comeback story. 

Source: News.com.au. 

Photo: Quinn Rooney / Getty.