Tom Wald at AAP today asks the question: Is Eamon Sullivan and Stephanie Rice's break-up a smokescreen? He answers: A cynical mind might just think so.
The world record holders and solid gold medal hopes for Australia in four events in Beijing (sprint free for him, medley for her) have put their relationship on ice for a while in order to focus fully on the job at hand, according to reports Down Under.
Since the couple shattered world records at the Aussie trials, the requests to have them appear as an item on TV shows and in interviews for magazines and papers have washed in like a tidal wave.
Sullivan told AAP that he had found Athens 2004 overwhelming. Beijing 2008 promises even more pressure now that he enters the fray as world number 1 and the man who tore the 50m free history book to shreds when he took an axe to previous standards with an LZR-clad 21.28 effort at trials.
'We mutually agreed being together won't work,' Sullivan told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. 'Nothing has gone wrong. We need to focus 100 per cent on ourselves. We're still great friends. It's in our best interests and it's working out so far.'
Wald reports: 'In the stifling Kuala Lumpur heat, Sullivan looked cool and composed when answering questions about his personal life today. But then again he rarely looks flustered. The news breaking at this time is hardly troubling for them either. They are overseas, training in a very protected environment and still a week and a half out from the start of the Olympic swimming program.'
Rice will speak to the media today.