Another Turn for SkippyApril 30, 2014
Geoff Huegill, winner of two medals at the Sydney Olympics, apologised after being allegedly caught with prohibited stimulant at Sydney's Randwick races.
Huegill and his publicist wife, Sara Hill, were charged after police found the pair with the substance in an exclusive suite at the star-studded auto racing carnival.
"Some people feel that they have been let down and I deeply apologise for that," the 35-year-old retired swimmer said.
This was the latest turn for Huegill, nicknamed Skippy, after battling depression after his retirement from competitive swimming.
At the 2000 Summer Olympics, Huegill won the bronze medal in the 100 meter butterfly, and together with Matt Welsh, Regan Harrison, and Michael Klim, the silver in the 4 x 100 meter medley relay. At the 2001 World Aquatics Champions in Fukuoka, Skippy won golds in the 50 meter butterfly and the 4 x 100 meter medley relay (with Klim, Todd Pearson, and Ian Thorpe) and bronze in the 100 meter butterfly. At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, he won three gold medals. He was unable to qualify for the Australian team in 2005 and 2006, which led to his depression and use of illegal substance.
Huegill credited Hill for turning his life around, even making a successful comeback. The public forgot what happened, with his much-publicized 45-kilogram weight loss. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Huegill won the gold medal in the 100 meter butterfly and the 4 x 100 meter medley relay (with Ashley Delaney, Brenton Rickard, and Eamon Sullivan) and the silver medal in the 50 meter butterfly. At the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai, he finished third in the 50 meter butterfly. He chances of qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics were good, but he narrowly missed out in the 100 meter butterfly at the 2012 Australian Swimming Championships, finishing fifth. He retired for the second time.
AustSwim, Australia's national organisation for the teaching of swimming and water safety, announced that it was suspending the former swimmer in the wake of the charge, pending the outcome of his court appearance. He and Brooke Hanson, another decorated swimmer, were ambassadors.
"However, if the allegations are proven, then AustSwim's standards would not allow him to continue in his role as an AustSwim ambassador," the organisation said.
The vitamin company Swisse followed, not renewing Huegill's contract, which will end by next month.
''We have not used Geoff in any above-the-line advertising over the past 12 months and we notified Swimming Australia several weeks ago that we would not be renewing our partnership when the contract expired at the end of May,'' Swisse said.
Huegill and Hill were married in 2011. Their daughter, Mia, was born in 2012. The couple will appear on court on May 14.
"But I'd ask everyone to understand that as this matter is before the courts, unfortunately I won't be making any other statements until the matter has been resolved," he said.
"So thank you very much and we'll speak to you again soon."
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