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Thorpedo returns

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Ian Thorpe has officially confirmed the rumours that he's returning to competitive swimming for London 2012:

Australia's Ian Thorpe to return for London Olympics

Any thoughts?

I guess it will become even more improbable now that Thorpe will come out of the closet soon. He needs to find (and keep) some conservative and intolerant sponsors now... :rolleyes:

Interesting in that context:

Thorpe said he decided to return to the sport back in September and started training on the sly, using eight different pools to dodge suspicion and telling friends to "lie through their teeth" about his plans.

I suppose he's a pro in lieing through one's teeth about one's real interests.

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Thorpe revealed his decision came after visiting the swimming venue in London, describing it as "extraordinary".

"It hasn't been something I've taken lightly, I made the decision last September," he said.

"I went to see the swimming venue for the London Olympics and it's an extraordinary venue and I could taste it, which is something I haven't felt for a very, very long time.

B)

I hope this works out well for him. It'd be sad if it turned into something similar to Schumacher's return.

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B)

I hope this works out well for him. It'd be sad if it turned into something similar to Schumacher's return.

The chances for a second Schumacher's return are high -- I mean, Thorpe will be almost 30 by the time of the London Games. That's senile in terms of professional swimmers' ages. If he were successful nevertheless at such an age and with that lack of training in recent years, it would raise the doping suspicions (which Thorpe already had to face) again.

Just think of 41-year-old Dara Torres' three silver medals in Beijing (although two of those were in the relays) -- to this day, this success is still spooky for me. And yes, the same is the case for Birgit Fischer who won yet another Olympic gold in canoeing at an age of 42 (Athens 2004).

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One is sleek and beautiful only once. Once you've put on the flab like Thorpie, it's hard to regain the old form. Plus, you'll be up against the really younger & sleeker ones. Like in figure skating...the returnees like Katrina Witt, Boitano, Torvill-Dean to name a few, just never reached their former heights of glory in return bouts because their bodies had aged. Peaking twice in such high-level sports is really hard. I think Dara Torres is more the exception than the rule. Her body-type and her genes are probably really on the slimmer side + she never really let herself go.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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The chances for a second Schumacher's return are high -- I mean, Thorpe will be almost 30 by the time of the London Games. That's senile in terms of professional swimmers' ages. If he were successful nevertheless at such an age and with that lack of training in recent years, it would raise the doping suspicions (which Thorpe already had to face) again.

Just think of 41-year-old Dara Torres' three silver medals in Beijing (although two of those were in the relays) -- to this day, this success is still spooky for me. And yes, the same is the case for Birgit Fischer who won yet another Olympic gold in canoeing at an age of 42 (Athens 2004).

I agree. Thorpe specialty is in the 200-400m range which is phisically demanding. Sprinters, like Dara Torres, and long distance swimmers can last longer since the sprint events require less intensive training and long distance requires experience. Thorpe events usually requires a lot of training and a perfect physical condition, which tend to be difficult to achieve as time goes by.

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The chances for a second Schumacher's return are high -- I mean, Thorpe will be almost 30 by the time of the London Games. That's senile in terms of professional swimmers' ages. If he were successful nevertheless at such an age and with that lack of training in recent years, it would raise the doping suspicions (which Thorpe already had to face) again.

Just think of 41-year-old Dara Torres' three silver medals in Beijing (although two of those were in the relays) -- to this day, this success is still spooky for me. And yes, the same is the case for Birgit Fischer who won yet another Olympic gold in canoeing at an age of 42 (Athens 2004).

Why "spooky"? What's "spooky" about it?

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The chances for a second Schumacher's return are high -- I mean, Thorpe will be almost 30 by the time of the London Games. That's senile in terms of professional swimmers' ages. If he were successful nevertheless at such an age and with that lack of training in recent years, it would raise the doping suspicions (which Thorpe already had to face) again.

Just think of 41-year-old Dara Torres' three silver medals in Beijing (although two of those were in the relays) -- to this day, this success is still spooky for me. And yes, the same is the case for Birgit Fischer who won yet another Olympic gold in canoeing at an age of 42 (Athens 2004).

Speaking of which, has Dara announced her future?

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Well, it's been an open secret for a few months (I mentioned it here a little while ago) that he was planning a comeback. Yesterday's announcement I think was more to do with his new sponsor, Virgin Blue, than that he's only just decided. The whispers are that he's not been doing well financially lately so needs to rebuild his profile a bit.

That said, as mentioned here, his previous fortes in the 200m and upwards are probably a bit too physically demanding for his age. So it's likely he's going to focus on sprints and relays.

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I hope he does well. He is a great Olympic champion and one of the icons from Sydney 2000

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Nice item setting the scene from down here of Thorpey's comeback:

Ian Thorpe comes back to perform

Sporting comebacks are not always about athletic accomplishment, so what is really driving Ian Thorpe?

Thorpe says it's not money. "If it was, I wouldn't have stopped swimming," he says.

But his comeback was curiously announced by the chief executive of Virgin Blue airline - the swimmer's prime sponsor.

Thorpe also plans to base himself in Abu Dhabi, a city swimming in money and he will fly there on Virgin Blue's inaugural flight to the United Arab Emirates capital.

And all this, a year after Thorpe admitted serious cash flow problems.

Sporting comebacks are rarely about athletic accomplishment. Especially for people who have achieved it all.

But Thorpe insists his return to competitive swimming is all about performance.

"My drive is for performance and that is it," he says.

"That is how it works."

He's set his sights on the 100m and 200m freestyle relays at the 2012 London Olympics - not the individual races or his pet event, the 400m free.

So Australia's greatest swimmer is prepared to be a mere cog in the wheel? That's like Bradman being content to bat at number seven ... unlikely.

More likely, the driving forces include the great tangible of modern sport - money.

And, perhaps as Thorpe maintains, the two great intangibles.

One: that winning feeling; the inner rapture of beating the world.

"I get the same level of satisfaction from the programs that I have in my charity, but it's stretched out over the years," Thorpe says.

"If we're talking about moments of euphoria, there's nothing that has matched my experience at the Olympics.

"I anticipate probably the only time it will, will be when I get married or have kids or something like that, that (the Olympics) will actually be eclipsed."

Two: fear. Sport is about losing, as much as winning.

But Thorpe - a five-time Olympic gold medallist, setter of 13 individual world records, 11-time world champion - isn't a loser.

"It's big, it's enormous," he says of the fear of failure.

"I have had an almost flawless career, and I put that at risk.

"It would have been a lot easier to sit on that and not do a thing.

"But there are still things in swimming that I haven't done, that I would like to achieve.

"It's a balancing act where fear comes in and motivation - it's a great place to be, on that edge."

Thorpe announced his comeback last week after keeping it secret since September - he only told his family last month.

"There has been something nagging," he says.

"It was on my bucket list to swim another Olympics before I was 30, along with playing James Bond, starting a rock band, being a pilot.

"This seemed more realistic."

The next day, he dived off the edge for his first public training session staged in a Sydney aquatic centre named after him.

About a dozen cameras trained on him during a two hour session. Occasionally, his nostrils flared like a double-barrelled shotgun but in the main, he cruised: a regally smooth blend of power and tranquility.

"It takes a lot of work to (make it) look that easy," he says.

"Part of swimming fast is to make it look easy and there's a lot of work that goes into making it look as smooth as that."

Thorpe can swim again competitively on November 2 this year - four years to the month since he announced his retirement.

But he has "no idea" whether he can win more Olympic gold. Or if medals, or just making the 2012 Games team, mean his comeback is a success.

"Success is a lot of things and all of those things scream success to me," he says.

For an airline, the comeback is already a success.

Sydney Morning Herald

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Ian Thorple reluctant to divulge training plans

IAN Thorpe is more than happy to keep living a secret life, with swimming's international man of mystery refusing to elaborate on his training plans beyond his Abu Dhabi junket as he departed Australian shores yesterday.

Thorpe revealed he would only be in the Middle East for "a few weeks" and is then to relocate to a secret training base in Europe, believed to be with former AIS head coach Gennadi Touretski's squad in Switzerland.

"You can guess as much as you want," said Thorpe when pressed on the coaching details. "It's not a secret. There's certain things that I do and it will be public knowledge as soon as I start training there.

"It's no big deal but at the moment, the people I'm bringing in I want to be able to train with them, I want to be able to train pretty much by myself and to be left alone during that training process.

"Until everything pans out as planned I won't be letting you know. It's exciting, I'm happy with who I'm training with.

"I'm very fortunate that I get to work with the best people, no matter where they are in the world. Now I can do this, bring in the best coaches to help me out with this."

Australia's greatest Olympian was buoyant upon his departure yesterday, adding he was pleased with his progress since coming out of retirement at the start of February following six months of training on the sly.

"I'm really happy with how I've been preparing over the last three weeks," he said. "I can see the incremental improvement from what I was doing previously. I think as we look towards the end of the year I have to make some really big improvements."

Thorpe plans to do some racing in Australia prior to Christmas and is likely to avoid the "dizzy" racing in shortcourse pools of the world cup series.

The surge in swimming comebacks has heated up competition to host next year's Olympic trials, with Sydney Olympic Park, Adelaide and the potential for a custom-built pool in an entertainment arena possibly in Melbourne among the options being investigated by Swimming Australia.

Thorpe is the headline act of next year's trials with the only obstacle in his path being the niggling shoulder pain he has experienced since he upped his training load.

The 28-year-old had a major operation after he sustained a triple facture of the shoulder blade in 2008, and if it becomes a persistent problem it could derail his bid to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

"It's off and on. It's not bad, it's fine. I just kind of get on with things," he said.

"I expected it and I'm surprised it actually hasn't been worse than it's been."

Daily Telegraph

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Ian Thorpe, Libby Trickett for World Cup meets

FIVE-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe has been named in Australia's team for the World Cup meets in Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo.

Thorpe, who retired in 2006 but is back in the pool aiming for next year's London Olympics, will compete in all three Asian legs of the World Cups, starting in Singapore on November 4-5.

This will followed by Beijing (November 8-9) and Tokyo (November 12-13).

Fellow Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett will also make her international comeback at the same events.

“I'm excited about being part of an Australian swim team again after all these years,” said Thorpe, who will join them from his training base in Switzerland, where he has been preparing with coach Guennadi Touretski.

“The reality for me is I'm now at the next stage of my preparation and getting ready to race competitively, and I'm really looking forward to catching up with everyone in Singapore.”

Swimming Australia head coach Leigh Nugent said the three meets will provide Thorpe and Trickett with the opportunity to race and gain vital experience in the lead up to London.

“I know both athletes have been working hard since making their intentions clear about returning to the competition pool,” said Nugent.

“While I won't be focusing too much on their results, I'll be very interested to see how they prepare themselves and go through their race processes over the series of meets.”

Thorpe, 28, whose classic freestyle technique earned him five Olympic gold medals, 11 world titles and 13 world records in his prime, has not raced since 2006, while Trickett, 26, has been out of international action since 2009.

Joining the comeback duo will be experienced Olympians including Eamon Sullivan, Brenton Rickard, Jessicah Schipper and Kylie Palmer.

The Australian

Edited by Don Rolando

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Thorpe makes final in comeback swim

It doesn't compare with his amazing Olympic relay swim in 2000, nor his first individual Games gold in Sydney, nor even overcoming adversity to win a historic pair of golds in Athens, but Ian Thorpe's race in Singapore today was significant.

In Thorpe's quest to reach a third Olympics next year, today's swim was a touch of reality.

It may have only been a heat of the shortcourse 100m individual medley - an event not featured at the Olympics - but it was his first competitive race on the road to London.

Almost six years after he last competed at the age of 24 - at the Commonwealth Games selection trials in early 2006 - Thorpe was again racing, this time without a body suit, almost nine months to the day after announcing his comeback plan.

It was the 100 metres individual medley Thorpe first tasted. While he didn't win, finishing second in his heat behind Colombian Omar Pinzon, he did enough to make it through to the final as the sixth fastest, in 56.74s.

He looked very nervous lining up, as he expected. But he looked at home in the pool. He never pushed himself too hard, and it appeared he knew exactly what he needed to do to make it through to the final, in the very unfamiliar event.

He hasn't swum an individual medley since the 2003 world championships in Barcelona.

For Thorpe, swimming internationally for the first time since the Athens Olympics in 2004, it wasn't about times, nor placings. It was about getting back into the swing of racing.

"I'm happy. It's nice to get the first swim out of the way. I was a little bit nervous before," Thorpe said after warming down.

"I can't remember the race, don't know if it was any good or not.

"I came second, I'm glad I have another opportunity for a final tonight. I'm sure once I watch the video there'll be things that I can work on and it's my first swim. I'm glad it's out of the way."

While the Singapore swims are a starting point in the pool, they are also the halfway mark. It's nine months since he declared he was coming back, and it's now only nine months before he hopefully competes in London.

It's not usually the case that a heat session at a shortcourse World Cup event attracts so much attention. But there were almost as many media as there were fans at the Singapore Sports School, with Fox Sports broadcasting the race live.

Having struggled with illness for the past few days, Eamon Sullivan (49.88s) missed qualifying for the final of the 100m freestyle, but fellow Australians Cameron McEvoy (47.87s, the fastest qualifier), Matt Abood (48.22s), Kyle Richardson (48.04s) and Andrew Lauterstein (49.35s) all made it through to tonight's final.

The fact five Australians made the final including emerging teenager McEvoy, world champion James Magnussen is back at home, and Sullivan is ill, emphasises the amazing strength of men's sprinting at present and shows how difficult it will be for Thorpe to break into the event for the London Games.

Fellow comeback swimmer Libby Trickett made her first final since returning to the pool when she qualified fifth in the 100m butterfly, clocking a respectable 58.39s.

Also making the final was Jess Schipper, fourth quickest in 58.35s. She backed up the effort later in the heat session by qualifying for the final of the 50m freestyle.

SMH

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Well, the "comeback's" not looking like going to Thorpie's script:

Thorpe misses another final in return to action

Ian Thorpe has missed yet another final after bombing out in the 100m butterfly heats at the FINA World Cup short course meet in Beijing.

Thorpe (54.35 seconds) was 13th fastest after the heats today, more than two seconds behind quickest qualifier Kosuke Hagino of Japan (52.13).

Sydneysider Thorpe, 29, finished fifth in his heat but it was not enough to book a final berth alongside compatriots Christopher Wright, Sam Ashby and Andrew Lauterstein.

Australia's greatest Olympian has had a frustrating time in China, missing out on Tuesday on the 100m individual medley and his specialty event, the 100m freestyle.

He is expected to contest the same three events at the World Cup round in Tokyo later this week as he counts down to the London Olympic trials in March.

In contrast, Libby Trickett continued to impress on the comeback trail, qualifying fifth fastest for the 100m freestyle final.

Trickett (54.50) finished second in her heat behind compatriot Emma McKeon (54.07).

Fastest qualifier overall for the final was Australia's Cate Campbell (53.87).

AAP

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At least we now know he's only human. I mean, he's 29 now -- that's really old in terms of a swimmer. Furthermore, he didn't swim competitively for five years. So it would have been a real miracle (or rather a real doping suspicion?) if he had been terribly strong in his first races after the comeback decision.

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Thorpe fails to secure Olympic berth at trials

Reuters) - Five-times Olympic champion Ian Thorpe failed to clinch an Olympic berth at this year's London Games when he crashed out of the preliminaries of the 100 meters freestyle at Australia's national swimming trials on Sunday.

Thorpe, who also failed to secure a 200 freestyle berth earlier in the trials, was 21st fastest to finish outside the top 16 that went through to the semi-finals in Adelaide.

Thorpe's time of 50.35 seconds was more than two seconds shy of pace-setter James Magnussen's 48.26, cutting his Olympic ambitions short after his comeback bid for London had entranced the Australian public and taken top billing at the trials.

"Thorpie's been someone I've always admired as a swimmer, so it is upsetting for him and the rest of us to do feel his pain," world champion Magnussen told reporters.

"It would have been great to have him there in London, it's disappointing that he's not going to be there, but all I can do now is focus on my race."

On Friday, Thorpe failed to reach the final of the 200 freestyle, a result that left the packed crowd at the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre stunned and left the swimmer hugely disappointed.

After more than five years away from the pool, the 29-year-old Thorpe announced his return to the pool just over a year ago with the aim of qualifying for his third Olympics.

The 11-times world champion has struggled since returning to competition and repeatedly wrote off his chances in the leadup saying he had left his run too late.

Reuters

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Ok it seems i'm not the only one who have failed... But the qualification mode in Australlia is way too diffrent... Sad for Thope he was a great dude in the 200 free...

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Well, he IS human after all. Oh well, it always was a tough ask, and I'm sure many people doubted his ability. Still I was surprised he concentrated on the sprints - I would have assumed the 400m (which was his speciality) would have been better suited to his age (though maybe I'm wrong - interesting to hear your thoughts on that Daewebo).

On the good side, nice to se Liesl Jones make it through - the first Aussie swimmer to get to FOUR games!

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Have to be honest, had my doubts about Thorpie's return... but I still would've liked him to qualify. Still, its great that we have James Magnussen....one to watch!

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