Ian Thorpe has announced that he is to come out of retirement and return to international swimming in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
The Australian who retired from the sport four years ago, made the announcement at a packed media conference in Sydney today.
28-year-old Thorpe, nicknamed “The Thorpedo”, revealed he had been in training since September and worked out in eight different Sydney pools in a bid to keep his comeback a secret.
Thorpe revealed that he did not make the decision lightly:
“It hasn’t been something that I have taken lightly in making a decision to return to competitive swimming but I actually made a decision in September. When I made that decision I was flying over the Atlantic and I then went on to not being able to say anything because I was actually commentating for the BBC so it was sitting in my gut for a while. I was then taken to see the swimming venue for the London Olympics. It’s an extraordinary venue and I could actually taste it … and I haven’t felt this way about swimming for a very long time.
“I didn’t at any stage get back into the pool to get fit. I didn’t get back in the pool for any other reason than to be back at the stage of being able to compete at an elite level. So when I initiated the training I promised myself first to train for three days without pulling the pin on it, then I said if I got through that I would give myself three weeks, and if I got through three weeks I’ll go for three months then make a decision about this.”
Thorpe, has won nine Olympic medals including five gold, 11 World Championship gold medals and 10 Commonwealth golds, will be based in Abu Dhabi in a bid to avoid the media spotlight in Australia.