Ian Thorpe, swimmer athlete: biography and curiosity

Ian Thorpe is one of the greatest swimmers of all time. Let's find out more about the sporting career and private life of this great Australian athlete

Ian Thorpe was born on October 13, 1982 in Sydney. He took his first steps in the swimming pool at the age of five and in adolescence participated in various youth tournaments, immediately showing all his potential. The numerous victories and the important times he recorded in the tank earned him the call-up to the national team, only 14 years old. In 1997 he made his debut in an international competition by taking part in the Pan-Pacific Games in Fukuoka (Japan) and becoming the youngest medalist in the history of this competition. In fact, he won two silvers, in the 4 × 200 m freestyle and in the 400 m freestyle and he began to attract the attention of the experts. In the same year he also gains access to the 1998 Perth World Championships. Here he becomes the youngest male swimming world champion, winning the gold in the 400 m freestyle. His second world gold then comes from the 4 × 200 m freestyle. With these results, the media spotlight all focuses on the Australian swimmer. In the following years, he was hoarding gold medals and world records at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, the World Championships in Hong Kong 1999 and the PanPacifici Games in Sydney 1999.

2000 is the year of the definitive consecration for Ian Thorpe. At the Games of the XXVII Olympiad, held in his own home, in Sydney, he wins three gold and two silver medals, setting the new world record in the 400 m freestyle and in the 4 × 200 m freestyle and 4 × 100 relay races m freestyle. In the latter, Thorpe and his companions for the first time interrupt the hegemony of the Americans, never defeated at the Olympic level. At the 2001 Fukuoka World Championships he set four other world records and takes on all the tests he competes in: 800 m freestyle, 400 m freestyle, 200 m freestyle, 4 × 200 m freestyle, 4 × 100 m mixed and 4 × 100 m freestyle. No one before him had ever accomplished such an undertaking, dragging Australia to the first place in the medals of the world competition. In 2002 the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the Pan-Pacific Games in Yokohama brought twelve more gold and two silver to the neck of Ian Thorpe. The 2003 Barcelona World Championships did not open in the best way for him, in fact he had to settle for a bronze in the 100 m freestyle and a silver in the 200 m mixed.

The prompt redemption, however, comes with gold in the 4 × 200 m freestyle, in the 200 m freestyle and in the 400 m freestyle. In any case, 2003 proved to be an insidious year for Thorpe, always swimming below the great skills expressed up to then, perhaps also due to the change of manager that took place at the end of 2002. 2004 is the year of the Olympic Games Athens: Ian fails to replicate the feat of four years earlier and only wins two golds, in the 200m and 400m freestyle, a silver and a bronze. The 400 m freestyle race, considered to be the race of the century, went down in history, since it saw four sacred monsters like Ian Thorpe, compatriot Grant Hackett, the future multi-medal American Olympic champion Michael Phelps and the Dutch Pieter van den Hoogenband, historian rival of the Australian. After the Games, he announces that he will not take part in future international competitions, so that he can better prepare for the 2008 Chinese Olympics, his last goal before the definitive farewell to swimming. In 2006, however, first an infectious mononucleosis and then a hand fracture pushed him to announce his retirement, only 24 years old.

Five years later, precisely on February 2, 2011, Ian Thorpe officially announces his return to professionalism, with the aim of winning the pass for the London 2012 Olympic Games, aiming for the 100 and 200 m freestyle. Unfortunately, however, at the Australian Trials, decisive for the qualification for the Olympics, Thorpe is unable to achieve the time necessary to qualify and is thus forced to abandon the dream. After this burning disappointment, he no longer took part in any competition. In his career he won nine Olympic medals and eleven world titles, four times he won the title of World Swimmer of the Year, he dropped twenty-three world records and before the definitive consecration of Michael Phelps he was considered the strongest swimmer of all times. The great results obtained over the years by the Australian swimmer have often generated doping charges, promptly denied by the blood tests carried out on the athlete. After years of rumors and rumors about his alleged homosexuality, in 2014 Ian came out. So here's who Ian Thorpe is, one of Australia's most popular athletes.

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