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*Pic: Launch of Confessions of a Ferret Salesman. Bob is with Maxine The Ferret ... Read all about the launch HERE

No pain, no gain in Cheek’s world

AT a strapping six foot, three inches, Bob Cheek is easy to spot, talking on his mobile phone amid the bustle of opening day at the latest gym in his Zap Fitness empire. He is also one of the only people in the room not sporting a tight-as-anything red T-shirt with Zap logo.

In an open-neck shirt, tan trousers and pointy-toed leather shoes, Cheek looks more like the former footballer he is than the former politician he also is. More the self-made millionaire he has become than the spectacular failure of a Liberal Opposition leader he once was.

“I reckon the State Government should give me a medal,” Cheek says after he manages to free himself from the phone call. “I reckon I’ve saved them $100 million at least on healthcare costs.”

It is unlikely the State Government will be giving Cheek a medal any time soon. The Liberals have not forgiven Cheek for the party’s devastating defeat at the 2002 election, nor for the tell-all expose he wrote a few years later about his time in politics. Read all about it on TT HERE

Cheek is the first to admit he should never have tried his hand at politics. He infuriated his colleagues by refusing to toe the party line and drew accusations from Labor of using his political position for personal business gain (something he vehemently denies).

“I think I’ve done more for Tasmania with this,” Cheek says, waving his hand around the gym where a smattering of men and women are jogging on treadmills or working the exercise bikes. “Helping people live longer, happier, healthier lives gives you a lot of satisfaction instead of being in Parliament abusing each other.”

Read more of Sally Glaetzer’s article, Mercury TasWeekend HERE