While Ryk Neethling distances himself from his former girlfriend, Amanda Beard, another of her exes, Nascar driver Carl Edwards, has been painted as a disastrous boyfriend.
There is still no indication of whether her newly released autobiography, In the Water They Can't See You Cry, will be published in South Africa but the US media are abuzz about its salacious revelations .
The Chicago Tribune reported that Beard had described Edwards as "self-absorbed", "insanely jealous" and "controlling".
She also outed herself as someone who could never have been comfortable as a passive partner in a relationship, according to the newspaper.
Beard said she had met a lot of submissive wives and girlfriends during her year-long relationship with Edwards.
In an excerpt from the book, Beard, a seven-times Olympic medallist, writes: "Their entire existence revolved around their significant others. Three beers and a thousand predictions later, I wanted to scream, 'Don't you guys have lives?' They were very sweet, but I didn't have anything in common with the rest of the women."
Yesterday Neethling would not comment on whether he is considering legal action against her.
Beard admitted that she had resorted to self-mutilation and that cocaine, ecstasy and acid were used during a two-month trip to meet his family in South Africa. "I wasn't trying to kill myself. I was trying to figure out how to live in a bad relationship," Beard wrote.
Neethling's publicist, Melinda Shaw, said yesterday: "Ryk has no further comments on the matter."
Neethling had admitted that their relationship, which began in 1999 when they both studied at the University of Arizona, was "tumultuous", backing up her claims that they often had "loud screaming, mean fights".
When Beard told Edwards about her drug abuse, he broke off the relationship and "didn't even want me to have a glass of wine", according to the book.
Twitter users reacted to the revelations with good humour:
@AngelaDub tweeted: "Ja, Ryk Neethling, this is why you stick to South African girls! We never tell. You bad boy."
@tirorose said: "Yo! Ryk Neethling, we should party sometime."
@alfr3dt wrote: "I wonder what Ryk Neethling do to his ex to p*ss her off. Why else would she want to spread news like that #publicitystunt #marketing."
@TaybaVaughan said: "So Ryk Neethling took drugs, finally a swimmer having some fun."
The SA Sports Confederation said in an e-mail response to queries: "This matter has nothing to do with [the confederation] as Ryk never tested positive while campaigning as an athlete."