Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hanging Up His Speedo...

Australia's greatest-ever swimmer Ian Thorpe has quit, announcing in a press conference his intention to withdraw from professional competition. In a prepared statement to the packed conference, Thorpe said his battle with sickness and the revelation that there was more to life that swimming had led to his decision.

"As I got fit, my mind got fit, and I started asking questions," he said. "What's the relevance of swimming to my life, what would my life be like without swimming?"

"I haven't balanced out my life as well as what I should have," he said.

Although the 24-year-old said he felt intense pressure to continue swimming, that pressure was coming from others, not from himself. "It would be dishonest to myself, and to everyone else, if I were to continue on that basis," he said. "I've reached all the dizzy heights of this sport - for all of that I'm extremely appreciative."

Thorpe is regarded as one of the greatest swimmers of all time after winning 11 world titles, five Olympic gold medals and setting 13 individual long-course world records.

When asked whether a comeback was possible, the Olympic champion was dismissive.

"I don't see myself competing again, it won't happen. I won't rule anything out, I never rule anything out, but it just won't happen."

He did not want to reveal his future plans. Of his decision, Thorpe said: "It's emotional because I see my entire swimming career flash before my eyes. "I've had a great career. It isn't the best time to be walking away from the sport but it's my time."

To me, it's sad to see such a successful athelete to quit, but can you blame him? He has given his all to the sport for the past ten years and has achieved just about everything there is to achieve in it. He thoroughly deserves the chance now to be able to 'kick back' and enjoy a more 'normal' lifestyle while he's still young and hot.

Good luck for the future Ian!

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