Former Olympic swimmer Geoff Huegill has been charged with cocaine possession, reports said Monday, becoming the latest Australian swimming star to suffer controversy outside the pool.
The two-time Olympic medallist and his wife were reportedly found with the illegal drug during a police raid on a horseracing event in Sydney on Saturday.
New South Wales state police said a 35-year-old man and his wife were charged after being found “allegedly in possession of a small quantity of a white powder believed to be cocaine”, without naming them.
The Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph newspapers cited witnesses who said the couple were escorted from the races by police.
Huegill “looked nervous and refused to be searched and kept asking for a lawyer,” a racecourse employee told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The 35-year-old is the latest high-profile former swimmer facing unwanted time in the spotlight, after fellow Olympians Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett both recently entered rehab.
Thorpe sought help for depression after a mixture of painkillers and anti-depressants left him disoriented on a Sydney street while Hackett needed help for an addiction to sleeping pills.
Speaking about his friend Thorpe earlier this year, Huegill said that in his experience, one of the hardest things for an athlete was dealing with “life after sport”.
Huegill is an inspirational figure in Australian swimming after a comeback from retirement in which he shed a whopping 45 kilograms over 18 months to win gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
He won bronze in the 100m butterfly and silver in the 4x100m medley relay at the Sydney 2000 Olympics but quit the sport soon after the Athens Games where he finished eighth in the 100m butterfly final.
Six years after retiring, he made inspiring swims at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi to win silver in the 50m butterfly and gold in the 100m final.
Huegill and his wife are reportedly due to appear in court on May 14.