Neil Brooks

Neil Brooks (born 27 July 1962) is an Australian former sprint freestyle swimmer best known for winning the 4 × 100 m medley relay at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow as part of the ''Quietly Confident Quartet''. Brooks was as much known for his swimming achievements as he was for disciplinary incidents, and he often found himself in conflict with officialdom and threatened with sanctions.

Born in England, Brooks emigrated to Australia as a toddler and started swimming lessons after nearly drowning in a childhood accident. After initially being known for his lack of technique, Brooks quickly rose through the youth ranks. Brooks made his debut at the Australian Championships in 1976, but it was not until 1979 that he medalled at national level and made his debut for Australia at a FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) Swimming World Cup meet. In 1980, he gained prominence by breaking the Australian record in the 100 m freestyle and being invited to a national team camp. There he had his first clash with officialdom, walking out after accusing the officials of neglecting him. He then qualified for the Australian team for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, defying political pressure to boycott the Games in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Arriving in Moscow, Brooks' experience in the 100 m freestyle was an unpleasant one, suffering an asthma attack and missing the final. The peak of his swimming career came in the 4 × 100 m medley relay, when he caught and passed the Soviet Union's Sergey Kopliakov during the anchor leg to seal a narrow victory for Australia. This victory remains the only time that the United States did not win the event at Olympic level.

Following the Olympics, Brooks was expelled from the Australian Institute of Sport by Don Talbot for disciplinary reasons. He accepted a swimming scholarship at the University of Arkansas, where he enjoyed the more liberal disciplinary standards. He returned to Australia for the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane and again raised the ire of officials during a preparatory training camp. After lobbying for improved accommodation conditions, Brooks was involved in a physical altercation with the team manager. As a result, he was given a suspension that was to take effect after the Commonwealth Games. However, his teammates protested and threatened to walk out, resulting in the ban being rescinded. Despite the turbulent preparation, Brooks had a successful meet, winning the 100 m freestyle and anchoring the 4 × 100 m freestyle and medley relays to gold medals. Brooks competed at his second Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984 Games, where he won silver in the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay and bronze for swimming the heats of the medley relay.

Brooks' international career ended at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh with silver in the 100 m freestyle and gold in the freestyle relay, after which he was suspended for drinking 46 cans of beer on the return flight to Australia. In retirement, he became a news presenter and sports commentator, but was sacked in 1999 after a string of incidents amidst an alcohol addiction. Later in life he faced a number of legal issues. Provided by Wikipedia
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  1. 1
    by Brooks, Neil, 1944-
    Published 1983
    Book
  2. 2
    Published 1979
    Other Authors: “…Brooks, Neil…”
    HeinOnline Law Journal Library
    Electronic Journal
  3. 3
    Published 1971
    Other Authors: “…Brooks, Neil…”
    Journal
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