Ian Thorpe
Australian swimmer
Ian Thorpe
Ian James Thorpe, OAM, nicknamed the Thorpedo and Thorpey, is an Australian swimmer who specialises in freestyle, but also competes in backstroke and the individual medley. He has won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian, and with three gold and two silver medals, was the most successful athlete at the 2000 Summer Olympics. At the 2001 World Aquatics Championships, he became the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship.
Biography
Ian Thorpe's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Ian Thorpe from around the web
Olympic swimming champ Ian Thorpe sells his Hollywood Hills retreat
LATimes - about 1 month
Ian Thorpe, the Olympic freestyle champion known as the Thorpedo, may not have set a record for a speedy sale, but he did sell his home in the Laurel Canyon area of Hollywood Hills for its asking price of $950,000. The hillside home, which sold in 55 days, was built in 1961 and was first owned...
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LATimes article
Olympics-Swimming-Australia's Chalmers inspired by Thorpedo and NBA's Durant
Yahoo News - 7 months
By Drazen Jorgic RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Australia's teenage Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers said he was bowled over by a video from NBA player Kevin Durant and a letter of support from Ian Thorpe before his sensational victory in the 100 metres freestyle on Wednesday. Chalmers, 18, was seventh at the 50m mark but mounted a stunning final length swim to snatch gold in the sport's blue riband event. After his victory, basketball fan Chalmers revealed an accidental encounter with Durant in Rio de Janeiro led to him receiving a personal video of support from the Golden State Warriors player.
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Yahoo News article
Not all champions can be role models, says Thorpe
Yahoo News - 8 months
By Sudipto Ganguly MUMBAI (Reuters) - Although Olympic champions can make great role models, sports officials can't expect all athletes to be angels in their pursuit of results, according to Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe. The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has taken a hard line on team culture at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, four years after their London Games delegation was embarrassed by a number of unsavoury incidents involving misbehaving athletes. Several athletes have been put on watch-list ahead of the Games, while the country's top tennis player Nick Kyrgios withdrew himself from consideration after a row with the AOC over his behavior in the public arena.
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Yahoo News article
Athletes support Olympic champ Thorpe's coming out
USA Today - over 2 years
Australian Ian Thorpe spoke Sunday about his depression and thoughts of suicide.           
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USA Today article
Ian Thorpe admitted to hospital for depression: report
Calgary Sun - about 3 years
Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe has been admitted to rehab after suffering from depression, local media said on Monday.
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Calgary Sun article
Ian Thorpe taken to hospital - Sydney Morning Herald
Google News - about 3 years
Ian Thorpe taken to hospital Sydney Morning Herald Olympic great Ian Thorpe was taken to hospital by police early on Monday morning after calls from concerned residents in Panania, south-western Sydney. Police said emergency services were called to a Panania street about 3am ''after concerns were raised ... and more »
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Google News article
Gay dance party 'outs' Harry
Cairns - about 3 years
FIRST it was Ian Thorpe, now the organisers of a gay dance party are under fire for using an unauthorised picture of 1D star Harry Styles.
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Cairns article
John Lennon Slept In This Hollywood Hills Home (PHOTOS)
Huffington Post - over 3 years
While this isn't one of the places where the late-music icon John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono staged one of their famous bed-ins for peace or posed naked for the cover of their 1968 album "Unfinished Music No 1: Two Virgins," we can think of no finer name-dropping, stop-the-dinner-conversation point than being able to say "Lennon used to live in this house." The home is currently owned by Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ian Thorpe, who just listed the Hollywood Hills bungalow for $999,000. Thorpe bought the 960-square-foot home for $879,000 in 2006. Located in Laurel Canyon, the listing notes that the retreat was built in 1961, sits on a hillside treed lot, and has lots of charming features including wall-sized windows, built-ins and a Japanese-inspired master bedroom that we assume Yoko Ono had nothing to do with. The house has a rooftop deck and a listing agent who wants us to know that some of the "world's most beloved songs" were rumored to have been written on it. We'd underscore " ...
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Huffington Post article
Missy Franklin Sets Gold Medal Record
Huffington Post - over 3 years
BARCELONA, Spain -- Missy Franklin stands alone. Franklin claimed her record sixth gold medal of the world championships Sunday night, swimming the leadoff leg for the Americans in the 400-meter medley relay. She gave the U.S. a slight lead, and her teammates - Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer and Megan Romano - made it look easy from there. The winning time was 3 minutes, 53.23 seconds, nearly two seconds ahead of runner-up Australia. The 18-year-old Franklin became the winningest female swimmer ever at the worlds and improved on her performance at the London Olympics, where she was one of the biggest stars with four golds and a bronze. She eclipsed the women's record that had had been shared by Tracy Caulkins, who won five times at the 1978 worlds, and Libby Trickett, who did it in 2007. Franklin also joins Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Australia's Ian Thorpe and East Germany's Kristin Otto as the only swimmers to capture as many as six golds at either worlds or an Olym ...
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Huffington Post article
Injury threatens Thorpe's Olympic dream
Fox News - over 3 years
Australia's five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe may have to abandon his dream of swimming at the 2016 Rio Olympics following a shoulder injury, according to a report.
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Fox News article
Thorpe not ready to write off Rio
Reuters.com - over 3 years
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe has not ruled out a crack at competing at the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 despite not qualifying for last year's London Games.
Article Link:
Reuters.com article
Five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe considered suicide and even planned places to end his life in career crippled by depression
Daily Mail (UK) - over 4 years
In excerpts from an upcoming biography, the Australian swimming great said there were times in his life that made him 'shudder' at what he might have done.
Article Link:
Daily Mail (UK) article
I've had crippling depression: Thorpe
Byron Shire News - over 4 years
OLYMPIAN Ian Thorpe says he has spent much of his life battling "crippling depression", and often drank huge amounts of alcohol to manage his moods.
Article Link:
Byron Shire News article
Squash: Forgotten heroes of White Rose - Willstrop
Yorkshire Evening Post - over 4 years
Pontefract’s world number one James Willstrop gives the inside track on the competitive world of sport. Alistair Brownlee won another gold for Yorkshire last week and his achievement with brother Jonny has added to the success for the region. Ian Thorpe was introduced to the Yorkshire lingo in view of the fact that the county has, or at least had at one point, won more medals than Australia. I occasionally visit the Yorkshire institution, Betty’s and did so at the weekend. At one point I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation on a nearby table, which centred around Yorkshire athletes, Jessica Ennis mostly and the Brownlees. The exposure these athletes suddenly reap is now off the scale and even though a player of a sport that cannot gain access to the Olympic programme, these conversations are good to hear because people are generally enthused about sport – but it’s still a little frustrating all the same. It’s in these situations that I am reminded of the 1980s TV game sho ...
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Yorkshire Evening Post article
Ian Thorpe gives swimming lessons in Tooting Bec Lido
Bucks Free Press - over 4 years
Australia's most successful Olympian Ian Thorpe gave swimming lessons to children living in the borough yesterday.
Article Link:
Bucks Free Press article
Thorpe: Australia's medal count
CNN - over 4 years
Swimming legend Ian Thorpe says Australia's lackluster London Games performance is due to decreased spending on sport.
Article Link:
CNN article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ian Thorpe
    THIRTIES
  • 2014
    Age 31
    In 2014, it was confirmed that Thorpe had been admitted to a rehabilitation clinic after neighbours found him dazed near his parents' Panania home.
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    In a July 2014 televised interview with British talk show host Michael Parkinson Thorpe came out as gay, after years of denying his homosexuality publicly.
    More Details Hide Details He stated "I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay man. And I don't want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay." He added "I am telling the world that I am gay … and I hope this makes it easier for others now, and even if you've held it in for years, it feels easier to get it out."
    In 2014, he was presented with a Doctor of Letters from Macquarie University in recognition of his extraordinary contribution for the sport, philanthropy and Indigenous rights.
    More Details Hide Details Born in Sydney, Thorpe grew up in the suburb of Milperra and hailed from a sporting family. His father Ken was a promising cricketer at junior level, representing Bankstown District Cricket Club in Sydney's district competition. A talented batsman, he once topped the season's batting averages ahead of former Australian captain Bob Simpson. However, paternal pressure detracted from Ken's enjoyment of cricket, and he retired at the age of 26. Thorpe's mother Margaret played A-grade netball, but he did not inherit his parents' ball skills. His elder sister Christina was advised to take up swimming to strengthen a broken wrist, so by chance, the five-year-old Thorpe followed her into the pool. Due to his unhappy experiences, Ken Thorpe regarded enjoyment as the most critical aspect of his children's participation in sport. A large baby, Thorpe weighed and measured in length at birth.
  • 2013
    Age 30
    Essentially saying that his (relatively) slow times in the 100 and 200 meters were the result of too short a period to train and prepare, Thorpe announced he will continue training, setting as his (new) goal qualifying for the World Championships in 2013.
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    It was subsequently announced that he was targeting qualification for the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona and later the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow but was forced to abandon his plans due to a shoulder injury.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 2012
    Age 29
    In his 2012 autobiography This is Me, Thorpe stated he had considered suicide and had drunk 'huge quantities' of alcohol to deal with 'crippling depression'.
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    Thorpe later became a spokesperson for the unsuccessful New York bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, even promising to continue his career until the games if New York won the hosting rights.
    More Details Hide Details Thorpe's interests have also seen him involved in television. In 2002, he played the lead role in the reality television show Undercover Angels, which imitated the Charlie's Angels series. In the program, Thorpe directed three young women who performed good deeds for people in need. Although it averaged more than a million viewers per episode, it was widely panned by critics. Thorpe has also appeared as an extra in the American sitcom Friends.
    During the 2012 Olympic Games, Thorpe worked as a pundit for BBC Television.
    More Details Hide Details Thorpe's success has been attributed to his work ethic, mental strength, powerful kick, ability to accelerate and a physiology suited to swimming. This led former Australian head coach Don Talbot to label him as "the greatest swimmer the world has seen". Although Swimming World labelled Thorpe's technique as "extraordinary" and "superior", Talbot disagreed, stating his belief that Thorpe relied on his kick too heavily at the expense of his arms. He also cited Thorpe's ability to manage his workload and his day-to-day recovery between races during a meet as a deficiency. Thorpe was known for using his trademark six-beat kick to power away from his rivals in the closing stages of races, the effectiveness of which was attributed to his unusually large size 17 feet. Following his retirement, head coach of the US men's swimming team Bob Bowman—who also mentors Michael Phelps—called Thorpe "the greatest middle-distance swimmer of all time and the greatest relay swimmer I have seen". Bowman further cited Thorpe's ability to raise the profile and popularity of swimming, noting that Phelps' public image was modelled on that of the Australian. Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates stated that "In 50 years from now Australians will still marvel at the feats of Ian Thorpe". Dawn Fraser, the first of only two swimmers to win the same Olympic event three times, said that Thorpe was the "greatest freestyle swimmer in the world", and lamented that he would not be attempting a hat-trick of 400 m titles.
    Thorpe's comeback attempt in the 200 m freestyle came to an abrupt end on day 2 of Australia's Olympic Trials in Adelaide, on 16 March 2012.
    More Details Hide Details No longer allowed to wear the full-body racing suit (covering from neck to ankles and wrists) with which he set all of his world records – but are now banned by FINA rule changes – he competed wearing just the "jammer" (hip to thigh) racing shorts. He swam very well in the morning heats, cruising to 1:49.18, a time which placed him equal fifth fastest. However, in the semi-finals that evening he faded over the last 100 meters, finishing in 12th place at 1:49.91. Speaking to reporters immediately afterwards, Thorpe said, "The last 100 was a struggle, I'm not sure why. This was slower than what I swam this morning, probably the inexperience of racing in the last 18 months held me up. The fairytale has turned into a nightmare." In the 100 m freestyle on day 3 (17 March), Thorpe won his heat (the 9th of 12) but failed to break 50 seconds and did not advance to the semi-finals with the top 16 sprinters. Thus, his bid to qualify for the London Olympics officially ended.
    Thorpe's major focus was the 100 m and 200 m freestyle at 2012's trials, stating he could offer the most value to the Australian team in the relays.
    More Details Hide Details He would not swim the 400 m, claiming he would not have enough time to build up endurance for that event. This led many to see a renewed rivalry with Michael Phelps.
    Thorpe competed at Australia's Olympic Trials in 2012, but failed to make the team.
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  • 2011
    Age 28
    Thorpe swam the 100 m butterfly and 100 m medley in Singapore (4–5 November) and Beijing (8–9 November) before also taking on the 100 m freestyle in the Tokyo (12–13 November) round of the 2011 FINA Swimming World Cup.
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    On 1 February 2011, Ian Thorpe announced that he would try to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.
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  • 2007
    Age 24
    Upon his return to Australia, Thorpe withdrew from the selection trials for the 2007 World Championships and announced his retirement on 21 November 2006.
    More Details Hide Details Thorpe said that he had been contemplating retirement for some time, but was afraid of the future because swimming had given him a "safety blanket". Thorpe stated that he retired despite reaching higher levels of fitness, noting "As I got fit, physically fit, my mind also got fit". He said a clear mind allowed him to reach his decision. He was close to tears when thanking the Australian public, but declared that his retirement was a "joyous" occasion of celebration.
  • 2006
    Age 23
    In February, Thorpe qualified for the 2006 Commonwealth Games by winning the 100 m and 200 m freestyle in times of 49.24 s and 1 min 46.42 s respectively.
    More Details Hide Details He expressed disappointment with his performances; he speculated that he may have misjudged his new training schedule and anticipated further improvement. Soon after, Thorpe announced his withdrawal from the Commonwealth Games due to a bout of bronchitis, which had stopped him from training. Thorpe's illness was later diagnosed as a strain of glandular fever, and after a further delay caused by a broken hand, he moved to the United States in July to work with Dave Salo. Further disruption followed when the Australian switched coaches, citing excessive and ongoing media attention. Thorpe's stay was constantly surrounded by rumours that he was suffering from ill discipline; this fuelled speculation that his international career was on the decline.
  • 2005
    Age 22
    Thorpe returned to competition at the New South Wales Championships in December 2005.
    More Details Hide Details He raced in the 200 m and stated his intention to retire after the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Thorpe announced that due to a desire to concentrate on the 100 m freestyle, he had dropped his pet event, the 400 m. He was unmoved by national coach Alan Thompson, who implored him to continue swimming the event.
    After the Athens Olympics, Thorpe took a break from competitive swimming, skipping the 2005 World Aquatics Championships.
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  • 2004
    Age 21
    In late March 2004 at the Australian Championships in Sydney, Thorpe overbalanced whilst on the blocks in the heats of the 400 m freestyle and fell into the water, resulting in his disqualification and ending the defence of his Olympic 400 m title.
    More Details Hide Details This resulted in a large debate among the swimming and public community as to whether Thorpe should be given an exception to Australia's policy of selecting the first and second place getters, with Prime Minister of Australia John Howard describing the situation as a "tragedy". Despite the intense media spotlight, Thorpe managed to win the 100 m and 200 m freestyle events to ensure his selection for Athens. Craig Stevens, who had claimed the second qualifying position in the 400 m event, subsequently faced immense public pressure to relinquish his position to Thorpe, and later did so in a television interview for which he was paid. This generated ethical debate as to whether Stevens' decision had been bought, and criticism against Thorpe. The pressure in the lead-up was further compounded by the media attention surrounding Phelps, who had decided that the 200 m freestyle would be one of the events in his quest for eight gold medals. This prompted many media outlets to label the race between Thorpe, van den Hoogenband, Phelps and Hackett as The Race of the Century. With the press spotlight growing, Thorpe tried to avoid media attention, resulting in a few terse media events. Thorpe's increasing focus on the 100 m event, coupled with the media pressure, resulted in speculation that he was vulnerable to Hackett in the 400 m event. Thorpe made a slow start in the final, reaching the 100 m mark one second outside world record pace.
    After that victory, Thorpe dominated the 400 m freestyle, winning the event at every Olympic, World, Commonwealth and Pan Pacific Swimming Championships until his break after the 2004 Olympics.
    More Details Hide Details Aside from 13 individual long-course world records, Thorpe anchored the Australian relay teams, numbering the victories in the 4 × 100 m and the 4 × 200 m freestyle relays in Sydney, among his five relay world records. His wins in the 200 m and 400 m and his bronze in the 100 m freestyle in Athens have made him the only male to have won medals in the 100–200–400 combination. During this, he picked up the nickname "Thorpedo" because of his speed in swimming. After the Athens Olympics, Thorpe took a year away from swimming, scheduling a return for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. However, he was forced to withdraw due to illness. Subsequent training camps were interrupted, and he announced his retirement in November 2006, citing waning motivation. From early 2011, there was speculation about Thorpe's return to swimming, fuelled by people claiming to have seen him training. The speculations were substantiated when Thorpe spoke at a February 2011 press conference of his return to swimming after four years away, with the aim of competing in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
  • 2003
    Age 20
    After his feats at the 2003 World Championships, Speedo had generated significant media publicity by offering Michael Phelps US$1 million if he could match Spitz's seven golds.
    More Details Hide Details Thorpe was adamant that this was impossible, and scrapped his seventh event, the 200 m individual medley from his Olympic program.
    Thorpe arrived for the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona for his first major international competition since Menzies' appointment under heavy media scrutiny following his non-improvement at the Australian Championships.
    More Details Hide Details On the first night of competition Thorpe defeated Hackett in the 400 m freestyle in a time 2.5 s outside his world record, making him the first to win three world titles in the same event. After his relatively slow 400 m, he was again under pressure in the 200 m freestyle after van den Hoogenband led at the 100 m mark ahead of world record pace. Thorpe managed to respond and retain his world title, and gained some relief after his sprint training yielded his first medal in the 100 m freestyle at a global competition; he finished third in 48.77 s. In all three freestyle events however, he had swum slower than his times under Frost. He ended his individual campaign on a promising note with his experiment with the 200 m individual medley, setting a new personal best of 1 min 59.66 s to claim silver. Thorpe again anchored the 4 × 200 m freestyle team to retain the world title along with Hackett, Nicholas Sprenger and Craig Stevens, with a reduced margin over the Americans, who finished less than two seconds in arrears. Michael Klim's injuries left the relay teams weakened, with Thorpe anchoring the 4 × 100 m freestyle team to fourth, At the end of a difficult year in the water, his standing had fallen in the eyes of Swimming World, who rated him fourth in the world.
  • TEENAGE
  • 2002
    Age 19
    In 2002, in the wake of a tourism slump after 11 September terrorist attacks, Thorpe agreed to be an ambassador for the Australian Tourism Commission in Japan.
    More Details Hide Details The high-profile campaign included a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. The marketing drive resulted in an upturn in Japanese tourism to Australia, which was credited to Thorpe. In 2005, Yakult released a 'Thorpedo' energy drink—which featured a picture of the swimmer on the bottle—in Japan. This was part of an equity deal with the So Natural food group, in which Thorpe was given a 5% stake in the company—at the time worth A$1.1 m—in return for the use of his name and image on their products. The 15-year deal covers East and Southeast Asia and Thorpe's share in the venture could increase to 50% depending on its success. More recently, Thorpe has also emerged as a philanthropist, starting the charity Ian Thorpe's Fountain for Youth in 2000. The organisation raises funds for research into childhood illnesses and sponsors a school in Beijing for orphaned children with disabilities. In addition, it works with The Fred Hollows Foundation to improve health standards and living conditions in Australian aboriginal communities. Citing a wish to " work directly with our Aboriginal partners and not compete for the meagre funding available from public and corporate donations" the organisation was liquidated in 2014.
    After the 2002 Pan Pacific Championships, Thorpe announced that he was splitting with Frost to train with one of his assistants, Tracey Menzies, who had no prior international experience.
    More Details Hide Details Admitting that tension existed between him and Frost, Thorpe asserted that the split was amicable. He cited waning motivation for the split, stating "I decided I either had to make the change or it was to walk away from the sport". The retired Talbot expressed concerns that Thorpe was making a decision whilst he was physically and emotionally drained, while other coaches felt that the new relationship would end up with Thorpe, rather than Menzies, making the decisions. Despite a turbulent year, he was again named by Swimming World as its World Swimmer of the Year. Along with the switch of coaches, Thorpe indicated that he would put more focus on improving his sprinting ability. He thus dropped the 800 m freestyle despite being the reigning world champion and record holder. During this period, his times in the 400 m and 200 m freestyle deteriorated, and both he and Menzies were criticised. The criticism continued to mount during their partnership, particularly during the build-up to the 2004 Olympics. Following his victory in the 200 and 400 events in Athens, Thorpe said that his results justified his decision, despite posting substantially faster times as a young swimmer under Frost.
    Thorpe began competition in 2002 at the Australian Championships in Brisbane in March, which were used to select the team for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the 2002 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
    More Details Hide Details After his record six gold medals in Fukuoka, the meet was surrounded by further expectations of world records and speculation that he would match Spitz's seven gold medals. His winning time in the 400 m was the second fastest in history, but such was the expectation on him that his failure to break a world record was the talking point. He claimed the 100 m and 200 m events in times outside his best, making it the first time that he had failed to break a world record at a major meet since 1999. He also experimented by adding the 100 m backstroke to his repertoire, placing second. This earned him a Commonwealth spot in a seventh event, leading to further media speculation that he could match Spitz. By this time, Thorpe's relationship with Frost was beginning to unravel. Thorpe had always insisted that his swimming was about enjoyment and improving himself in setting faster times, rather than victory or defeat. This contrasted with Frost, who had a more aggressive and combative mindset, often making bold public statements. Thorpe ignored Frost's advice and bulked up his upper body by a further 5 kg to 105 kg, making him the heaviest elite swimmer in history. His reasoning that the strength gains would outweigh any loss in flexibility raised concerns over his physiological strategy. On the first night in Manchester, Thorpe again lowered his 400 m mark by .09 s to 3 min 40.08 s, before anchoring the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay team to another gold.
  • 2001
    Age 18
    With the 2001 Australian Championships held in Hobart in March, Thorpe added the 800 m freestyle to his repertoire, after FINA had added the event for the 2001 World Aquatics Championships.
    More Details Hide Details Thorpe began his campaign by successfully defending his 400 m title with a time just .17 s outside his world record. The following night in the 800 m event, he drew away from Hackett in the last 100 m to break Kieren Perkins' 1994 world record by over four seconds. He earned his third title by cutting .66 s from van den Hoogenband's 200 m world record to set a new mark of 1 min 44.69 s. This performance made him the third male after John Konrads and Tim Shaw to hold world records over three distances simultaneously. His subsequent victory in the 100 m freestyle in a new personal best of 49.05 s made him the first since Konrads in 1959 to hold all Australian freestyle titles from 100 m to 800 m. This indicated that he could swim faster at the subsequent World Championships in Fukuoka, where he was looking to regain the ascendancy from van den Hoogenband.
    Thorpe was to peak in 2001 when he became the first person to win six gold medals at one world championships, setting three world records and helping Australia top the medal tally at a global meet for the first time since 1956. In this period, he was named Swimming World Swimmer of the Year three times. The 1999 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships were held in August at Sydney Olympic Park, and were viewed as a rehearsal for the 2000 Summer Olympics to be held in the same venue.
    More Details Hide Details With Thorpe expected to deliver world records at his first international meet in Sydney, the event was shown live on Australian television for the first time. The opening night saw him pitted against Hackett and South Africa's Ryk Neethling in the 400 m freestyle final. The trio reached the 200 m mark in a group, on world record pace, before Thorpe broke away, recording a split time 1.86 s ahead of world-record pace at 300 m. He extended his lead to four body lengths by the 350 m mark and finished in a time of 3 min 41.83 s, cutting almost two seconds from the world record, and covering the second half in almost the same time as the first. Talbot reacted to the performance by dubbing Thorpe as "the greatest swimmer we've Australia ever had", whilst four-time American Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines, commentating for NBC, said " he went into a balls-out sprint at 250 – and I have never seen anything like that I have been around swimming a long time and it's the most amazing swim I've ever seen, hands down." A formula used by the International Swimming Statisticians Association to compare world records in different events gave his performance the highest score of all current world records. Thorpe promptly donated the A$25,000 prizemoney for breaking the first world record in the pool to charity. Later the same night, Thorpe anchored the Australians to a historic victory in the 4 × 100 m freestyle final, the first time the United States had lost the event.
    At the 2001 World Aquatics Championships, he became the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship.
    More Details Hide Details In total, Thorpe has won eleven World Championship golds, the third-highest number of any swimmer. Thorpe was the first person to have been named Swimming World Swimmer of the Year four times, and was the Australian Swimmer of the Year from 1999 to 2003. His athletic achievements made him one of Australia's most popular athletes, and he was recognised as the Young Australian of the Year in 2000.
  • 2000
    Age 17
    Thorpe is widely popular in Asia, particularly Japan. In 2000, TV Asahi identified him as the swimmer likely to be the most successful at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, so they selected him as the event's marketing figurehead.
    More Details Hide Details In the lead-up, Thorpe visited Japan to promote Asahi in a series of television events, and upon returning for the competition, he was mobbed at the airport by youthful crowds 25 m deep; hundreds camped outside the Australian team's hotel. He was also praised by older sections of Japanese society as a role model for youth, due to what they interpreted as his humility and work ethic. It was estimated that more than 80% of the Japanese public watched his races on television.
    With three gold and two silver medals, Thorpe was the most successful athlete at the 2000 Olympic Games.
    More Details Hide Details At year's end, he was again named by Swimming Australia as the Swimmer of the Year, but van den Hoogenband usurped him as the leading male swimmer chosen by Swimming World Magazine.
    Prior to the 2000 Olympics, the head coach and captain of Germany's swimming team accused Thorpe of cheating, that his physical attributes were symptomatic of steroid use and that his ability to exceed prior records believed to be drug-fuelled made his feats worthy of suspicion.
    More Details Hide Details In 2007, the French sports newspaper L'Équipe claimed that Thorpe "showed 'abnormal levels' of two banned substances in a doping test". Thorpe denied the charges and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) confirmed that they had investigated Thorpe in the past, for abnormal levels of testosterone and luteinising hormone (LH), but had dismissed the result. FINA dropped its investigation and closed the case. Thorpe has never been found to have been doping, and has steadfastly denied the allegations while also being prominent in the campaign against drug use. He has called for the introduction of blood testing, promised to surrender a frozen sample for retrospective testing and repeatedly criticised FINA for drug-testing procedures that he regards as inadequate. Entering the Olympics, the Australian public expected Thorpe to deliver multiple world records and gold medals as a formality; Sydney's Daily Telegraph posted a front-page spread headlined Invincible. Thorpe cruised through the heats of the 400 m on the first morning of competition, posting a new Olympic record and shortening bookmakers' odds to 50–1. By the time the final was held that night, the pressure had intensified—the host nation had yet to win its first gold medal. Thorpe led throughout, and although Italy's Massimiliano Rosolino was within a body length at the 300 m mark, Thorpe's finishing kick extended the final margin to three body lengths. This set a new world record of 3 min 40.59 s.
    Thorpe's success led to allegations of drug doping in 2000, which arose again in 2007.
    More Details Hide Details Specifically he was accused of using banned performance-enhancing steroids.
    With the past uncertainties resolved, Thorpe proceeded to the Olympic selection trials at Sydney Olympic Park in May 2000.
    More Details Hide Details He again broke his 400 m world record on the first night of racing, lowering it to 3 min 41.33 s to earn his first Olympic selection. The following day, he lowered his 200 m world record to 1 min 45.69 s in the semi-finals, before lowering it again to 1 min 45.51 s in the final. His attempt to secure a third individual berth failed after he finished fourth in the final of the 100 m and withdrew from the 1500 m.
    Thorpe started 2000 looking to add a third individual event to his Olympic schedule.
    More Details Hide Details He explored his options by contesting the 1500 m freestyle at the New South Wales Championships in January, which he won. Thorpe embarked on a European FINA World Cup tour to hone his racecraft, but this was overshadowed by comments made by German head coach Manfred Thiesmann accusing him of using steroids. Thorpe's difficulties heightened at the subsequent German leg of the tour in Berlin, when a standoff over a drug-test arose when officials wanted to take an unsealed sample due to lack of containers. After the standoff was resolved, Thorpe proceeded to cut more than 1.5 s from his world short course record in the 200 m freestyle. Given the context of the race, Thorpe rated it as his best-ever performance, ahead of his victories at Olympic and World level. On returning from Europe, Thorpe faced further uncertainty until he was granted permission to wear his Adidas suit instead of the Australian uniforms provided by Speedo.
  • 1999
    Age 16
    The Australian team then travelled to Hong Kong for the 1999 World Short Course Championships, where Thorpe broke Lamberti's mark in the 200 m freestyle, the longest standing world record at the time.
    More Details Hide Details However, Hackett defeated him in the 400 m. This was the start of a three-year phase where Thorpe was to set his 13 individual long course world records. He led the men's relay team to unprecedented success in relay events, scoring historic victories over the Americans.
    1999 began with heavy media expectations that Thorpe would inevitably break both 200 m and 400 m world records, given his continuing physical growth. The first opportunity came in late March at the 1999 Australian Championships in Brisbane, which doubled as a selection event for the 1999 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
    More Details Hide Details Thorpe again won the 400 m, but Perkins' record eluded him, this time by just .05 s. Hackett turned the tables in the 200 m event, passing Thorpe in the final 50 m to win Thorpe's title. Although both were outside Lamberti's mark, Hackett went on to break it the following night in a relay event. Thorpe finished the Championships by continuing his improvement in the 100 m freestyle, posting a time of 49.98 s, his first under the 50 s barrier.
  • 1998
    Age 15
    Thorpe's next competition was in March at the Australian Championships in Melbourne, which were selection trials for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia.
    More Details Hide Details Thorpe's improvement continued when he defeated Klim in the 200 m freestyle in 1 min 47.24 s, faster than Klim's winning time at the World Championship two months earlier. Thorpe's time was a Commonwealth record and with it, he secured his first national title. He then claimed the 400 m freestyle title from Hackett and clocked 50.36 s in the 100 m freestyle. His time earned silver in his first 100 m race at the national level, gaining him Commonwealth selection in three individual events. Thorpe's rise continued when the Australians arrived in Kuala Lumpur during September for the Commonwealth Games. Thorpe's first event was the 200 m freestyle, where he led throughout to record a time just one hundredth of a second outside Giorgio Lamberti's world record. He then combined with Klim, Kowalski and Matt Dunn in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay to break the world record of the Unified Team set in 1992 by .09 s. Thorpe's run ended when a personal best of 50.21 s in the 100 m freestyle was only sufficient for fourth place, but he returned to victory with the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay team. He claimed a fourth gold in the 400 m freestyle, setting another personal best, just .55 s slower than Kieren Perkins' 1994 mark.
    Thorpe's first international appearance in his home country, at the 1998 World Championships in Perth, began with the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay.
    More Details Hide Details Swimming the third leg after Klim and Hackett, Thorpe broke away from 200 m butterfly Olympic champion Tom Malchow to set a split time of 1 min 47.67 s, just .26 seconds slower than Klim's winning time in the 200 m final. By the end of Thorpe's leg, the Australians were two seconds ahead of the world record pace, and three seconds ahead of the Americans, having extended the lead by two body lengths. Although anchorman Kowalski finished outside the world record, it was the first time that Australia had won the event at the global level since 1956. Thorpe was ranked fourth in the world before the 400 m final, which Hackett led from the outset. Hackett established a comfortable 2.29 s lead over Thorpe by the 300 m mark, and although Thorpe reduced the margin to 1.53 s at the 350 m mark, Hackett led until Thorpe passed him on the final stroke. Thorpe's time was the fourth fastest in history and made him the youngest ever male individual world champion, aged 15 years and 3 months.
    At the age of 14, he became the youngest male ever to represent Australia, and his victory in the 400 metre freestyle at the 1998 Perth World Championships made him the youngest ever individual male World Champion.
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  • 1997
    Age 14
    In October 1997, a few days before his fifteenth birthday, Thorpe competed in qualifying trials in Brisbane for the 1998 World Aquatics Championships in Perth.
    More Details Hide Details Thorpe gained selection for the world championships by finishing fourth and second in the 200 m and 400 m freestyle respectively. He set new personal bests in both events.
    In June 1997, two months before the Pan Pacific Championships, Thorpe required an appendix operation, which caused him to miss two weeks of training.
    More Details Hide Details Upon reaching Japan, Thorpe placed fourth in his heat of the 200 m freestyle with a new personal best time of 1 min 51.46 s. Thorpe's time was not enough to qualify for the final, but earned him selection in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay team. Along with teammates Michael Klim, Ian van der Wal and Hackett, Thorpe claimed silver, making him the youngest ever Pan Pacific medalist. In his first individual final at international level, Thorpe was fifth at the 300 m mark, but fought back to claim silver in the 400 m freestyle behind Hackett in a time of 3 min 49.64 s. His finishing burst was to become a trademark, and his time would have been enough to win silver at the Atlanta Olympics.
    Ranked fourth for the event countrywide, Thorpe went into the Australian Championships in Adelaide as a serious contender for selection in the national team for the 1997 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
    More Details Hide Details With a top-three finish and a specific qualifying time required for selection, Thorpe focused on the 400 m freestyle after injuries to world record holder Kieren Perkins and Daniel Kowalski; both had won Olympic medals in the event. Thorpe went on to win bronze behind 16-year-old Queenslander Grant Hackett, setting a new personal best of 3 min 53.44 s. The time was a world record for his age group and the race was the first of many battles with Hackett. Aged 14 years and 5 months, Thorpe became the 463rd and youngest ever male to be selected for the Australian team, surpassing John Konrads' record by one month. Frost said that Thorpe's selection catalysed his eventual focus on freestyle. Thorpe continued his good form at the Australian Age Championships. He contested all twelve events, winning ten individual gold and two bronze medals. He set six Australian records in the process.
    At the New South Wales Championships in January 1997, Thorpe's time of 3 min 59.43 s in the 400 m was eight seconds faster than his previous personal best; it made him the first 14-year-old to cover the distance in less than four minutes on Australian soil.
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    It was another chance to gain national selection, as the event served as the selection trials for the 1997 FINA World Swimming Championships.
    More Details Hide Details Thorpe qualified in second place in the heats of the 400 m individual medley and reached his first national final. However, he swam more slowly in the final and missed selection.
  • 1996
    Age 13
    His times in the 400 m freestyle and 200 m backstroke qualified him for the Australian Championships, which doubled as selection trials for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
    More Details Hide Details Frost knew that Thorpe had no realistic chance of making the top two in any event, which would have meant Olympic selection at only 13 years and six months. He sent Thorpe to Sydney merely to gain competition experience at senior national level. As expected, Thorpe missed selection; he finished 23rd in the 400 m freestyle and 36th in the 200 m backstroke. At the end of the year, Thorpe qualified for the Australian Short Course Championships.
    Thorpe competed at the 1996 Australian Age Championships in Brisbane, winning five gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
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  • 1995
    Age 12
    In 1995, Thorpe started his secondary education at East Hills Boys Technology High School and switched coaches to swim alongside his sister under the tutelage of Doug Frost. It was a busy year for the family; Christina was selected for the Australian team to compete at the 1995 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Atlanta.
    More Details Hide Details Now six feet tall, Ian competed at his first Australian Age Championships, winning bronze medals in the 200 m and 400 m freestyle. He won all ten events at the New South Wales Age Championships.
  • 1994
    Age 11
    Thorpe gradually overcame the ailment and progressed to the captaincy of New South Wales for the Australian Primary Schools Championships in 1994.
    More Details Hide Details He subsequently won nine individual gold medals at the New South Wales Short Course Age Championships in September of the same year.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1982
    Born
    Born on October 13, 1982.
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