Heard of sleep walking your way out of a gold medal? An Australian swim coach believes the drug Stilnox, a sleeping medication, cost his team a gold while affecting a number of athletes.
The former long-time coach of Australian swimming champ Grant Hackett told The Australian early this week that the sleeping medication cost the long distance swimmer gold in Beijing- a big claim; Hackett fell .69sec short of completing the first Olympic back-to-back-to-back golds in the 1500m freestyle .
In the exclusive interview with the newspaper, Cotterell said the drug was directly to blame for Hackett's lack of alertness in the pool and produced damaging side effects on the athletes that used it.
Hackett had been prescribed Stilnox by the team doctors, but was seen sleep walking around Games Village only months after the Australia’s medicine regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, began including boxed warnings regarding the effects of bizarre sleep-related behaviour, which included sleep walking, and wait for this, SLEEP DRIVING!
The team medicos took him off the pill, which was being used to quell Hackett's stress induced sleepless nights at the Games, and as a result, he spent the night prior to the 1500m final wide awake.
After having produced an amazing heat race the day before, an underprepared Hackett took to the pool, but appeared to be mentally drained. Hackett failed to recognise the distant approach by Tunisian Oussama Mellouli in a far off lane in the final stages of the race, cost him his chance at a record. Coach Cotterell said Hackett was asleep and normally wouldn’t have failed to make such a poor mistake.
Other swimmers were also said to have done crazy things while using the drug to sleep, such as entertaining teammates for hours while not remembering a moment of it.
In response, the Australian Olympic Committee banned the use of such medicines on Tuesday in the lead up the London games.