Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

WHEN they’re com­pet­ing at the high­est level, pro­fes­sional ath­letes live in a vac­uum — fo­cused on one thing and one thing only.

In Matt Shirv­ing­ton’s case it was run­ning, and run­ning fast.

But what hap­pens when the struc­ture is gone?

Some ath­letes find the tran­si­tion easy, mak­ing a suc­cess­ful move into busi­ness, TV or mo­ti­va­tional speak­ing. Oth­ers are not so lucky.

Grant Hack­ett’s very pub­lic melt­down is an ex­am­ple of what hap­pens when it all goes wrong. Shirv­ing­ton is an ex­am­ple of get­ting it right.

Shirv­ing­ton, who was at one time the fastest white man on the planet, man­aged to turn a stint on the first sea­son of Danc­ing With the Stars into a suc­cess­ful broad­cast­ing ca­reer.

‘‘ I had to pull out of Athens (Olympics) be­cause I had glan­du­lar fever — had to rest,’’ Shirv­ing­ton says.

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