x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ian Thorpe's Olympic hope torpedoed by lack of time

Australian great Ian Thorpe is admitting his chances of making the Oympic team for London 2012 is slim and wishes he 'had another six months to do this'.

Ian Thorpe admits he does not believe he will reach the London Olympics and cites not having enough time to prepare in his return to competitive swimming.
Ian Thorpe admits he does not believe he will reach the London Olympics and cites not having enough time to prepare in his return to competitive swimming.

SYDNEY // Ian Thorpe, the winner of five Olympic gold medals, does not fancy his chances of making it six after a less than impressive return from a five-year retirement.

Thorpe on Wednesday said he expects to fail in his attempt to make the Australian Olympic team for London 2012, conceding he may have made his return to competitive swimming too late.

A week before the Australian trials that will determine whether he qualifies for London, Thorpe told Australia's Network Ten that he does not have high expectations of making the team after modest results in lead-up events.

"The most realistic outcome of this is that I will most likely fail ... I wish I had another six months to do this," he said in the television interview.

The 29-year-old Thorpe, who retired in November 2006 after setting 13 world records and winning 11 world championships gold medals, announced a comeback to competitive swimming nearly a year ago.

He won 200- and 400-metre freestyle golds at the 2004 Athens Olympics in his last major international meet.

In his first meetings back from retirement, Thorpe struggled at the short-course (25-metre pool) World Cup in Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo in November. That form was repeated in subsequent Olympic-distance races in Australia and Europe in the past three months.

"All of the expectation, that desire to see me do well, it exists for me in a way that it doesn't exist for other people," Thorpe said.

He will contest the 100- and 200-metre freestyle events at the Australian trials in Adelaide starting March 15. His most likely path to the Games team is a top-six finish in the 200 metres, which could get him into the Australian 4x200-metre relay squad for London. "I wish I had more time to do it," said Thorpe, who flew to Australia this week after a training camp in Switzerland. "I have to be swimming well. I have to be swimming fast as well in both of my races."

Leigh Nugent, the Australian head coach, worked with Thorpe for several months before Thorpe announced his comeback. He has seen him train in Europe, watched him race in Asia and again earlier this year in Melbourne.

Nugent was in Perth on Monday to welcome Thorpe back from his European training schedule.

"He trained this morning for a couple of hours and physically he looks fantastic," Nugent said. "He's probably in the best physical shape he's been in the whole preparation [and] he looks in pretty good trim.

"For Ian, I think now it's like, 'I've done all that and this is a whole new ball game now, I'm getting ready for the real deal'."