Legendary Thorpe seeks comeback to pool glory

Legendary Thorpe seeks comeback to pool glory

Deniz Çiyan ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Legendary Thorpe seeks comeback to pool glory

‘There is no physical reason why I cannot swim in Rio,’ Thorpe says, referring to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

The Olympic medal winner Ian Thorpe, nicknamed “Thorpedo,” has said he wants to compete and be at the top of the swimming ranks once again.

The five-time Olympic medal winner and 11-time world champion swimmer Thorpe told the Hürriyet Daily News on the sidelines of an Istanbul event on July 5 that though he enjoyed just being back in the pool after four years of retirement, he wanted to compete again.

“There is the athlete part in me that still wants to be at the top,” Thorpe said.

The former world number one had announced his retirement from swimming in late 2006, after having won three gold medals and two silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and two gold medals, one silver and a bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He attempted a comeback on 2011 to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics but ended up being unsuccessful in the Olympic trials in his country. Thorpe said he intended to make a comeback at the 20th Commonwealth Games next year, which are to set take place in Glasgow. Though he had plans to attend the World Championships in Barcelona this year, Thorpe said it was still not confirmed due to his busy schedule.

Body not worn out

Upon a question about how he felt while swimming, Thorpe said he did not consider himself 30 years old in sport because of the four years of retirement, in which he did not compete in any races. Rather, he said he thought of himself as a 26-year-old athlete.

“I kind of take the four years off that I did not have the wear and tear on my body like the other swimmers have had because I was not swimming during the time,” Thorpe said, adding that he had swum socially during the four years but had not trained at a professional level.

The Australian swimmer said it was possible to compete at his age at the elite-level and that he could consider swimming for medals in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“There is no physical reason why I cannot swim in Rio, but I have to consider whether or not my body can hold up for it,” Thorpe said, adding that he first had to concentrate on the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Thorpe said he had a shoulder problem he considered “not too serious” but that prevented him from taking part in competitions. “I mentioned I have a shoulder problem. I have to work out at what level I can swim at,” Thorpe said, adding that he was on a reduced training schedule. He said he could only train an hour six times a week, instead of two hours 10 times a week, which was his normal routine.

“To actually be a champion you have to be willing to let go of it and pass it on to the next champion, and that’s always going to happen,” Thorpe said.