Thorpe Ian life and biography

Thorpe Ian picture, image, poster

Thorpe Ian biography

Date of birth : 1982-10-13
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Sydney, Australia
Nationality : Australian
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-06-20
Credited as : Olympic swimmer, Thorpedo, World Swimmer of the Year

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Ian Thorpe born October 13, 1982 in Sydney, Australia is an Australian swimmer .


Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe has won a combined five gold medals and eight overall in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympic Games. Nicknamed the "Thorpedo", he enjoys widespread celebrity status in a country that loves the sport of swimming. "To his countrymen, the 21-year-old is no less awesome a natural wonder than the Great Barrier Reef," Karen Crouse wrote in the Palm Beach Post during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Fought Off Chlorine Allergy

When he was eight Thorpe became tired of watching his sister, Christina, practice, and took up swimming himself. Thorpe, allergic to chlorine, originally wore a nose clip and swam with his head out of water, but the allergy eventually receded. His father, Ken, was a semi-pro cricket player who put up nets in the backyard in Milperra, a Sydney suburb, but young Ian preferred to swim. He joined the national team at age 14 and competed in the 1997 Pan Pacific Championships, and a year later became the youngest male world champion in the sport. In 1999, a year before Sydney would host the Summer Olympics, Thorpe broke the world records in the 200- and 400-meter freestyles.

Australians expected big things from Thorpe while hosting the 2000 Games, and he delivered. He won gold in the 400 individual freestyle, and the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. He also took silver in the 200 freestyle. The 4x100 was a historic victory. The United States had never lost this event in an Olympiad and, to add to the Australians' vindication, the U.S. swimmers had earlier talked openly of an easy victory. According to Tim Adams of the British newspaper the Observer, the Americans "had said, bizarrely, that they would 'smash' their Australian rivals 'like guitars.'" But Thorpe, in a down-to-the-wire showdown in the anchor leg, won by the slimmest of margins.

Thorpe was in New York City on September 11, 2001. That morning, while en route to the World Trade Center, he realized he had forgotten his camera and told the cab driver to return to his hotel. "He wanted to take some pictures from the [top-floor restaurant] Windows on the World," Adams wrote. "In the minutes that he was delayed, the first of the two planes crashed into the twin towers." Thorpe grieved with New Yorkers at the site, attended prayer services and applauded rescue personnel. "It was a difficult experience to grasp at the time," said Thorpe, according to the NBCOlympics.com website, "and it still becomes quite difficult to grasp. What it has made me realize is what is important to me."

Controversy Preceded Athens Games

Thorpe, who has adapted well to a new coach, Tracey Menzies, won six gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2002. At the Athens Olympics in 2004 he took the gold in the 200 and 400 freestyle, silver in the 4x200 freestyle relay and bronze in the 100 freestyle. But he almost didn't qualify for the 400 freestyle. Thorpe was disqualified for a false start at the Australian trials in March, and officials disallowed his protest. Prime Minister John Howard called the disqualification "a national tragedy," Doug Miller wrote on NBCOlympics.com, and the Australian media called for teammate Craig Stevens, a close friend of Thorpe, to withdraw and open a spot for Thorpe. Stevens eventually did.

Though the media played up the rivalry between Thorpe and American Michael Phelps, who swam to six golds (Time magazine's Alice Park said Thorpe called Phelps's goal of matching Mark Spitz's record of seven "ridiculous"), Thorpe said he could relate to the demands on Phelps. "The hard part isn't competing," Thorpe said, according to Paul McMullen of the Baltimore Sun. "It's the fact that we're waiting for buses, food isn't there, [and] there are drug tests every night. Sleep at night is starting to get shorter and shorter, and you just make sure you manage your time as well as you can." Thorpe bested Phelps in the 200 freestyle; the American settled for a bronze.

Thorpe has an endorsement deal with an Australian company, So Natural Foods, that gives Thorpe an ownership stake in the company. His Thorpedo brand, under the So Natural banner, was scheduled to appear on canned fish in Japan by the end of 2004. Thorpe's personal hobbies include movies, surfing, and design.


AWARDS


World Swimmer of the Year, 1998, 1999, 2001; Sport Australia Male Athlete of the Year, Sports Personality of the Year, Australian Swimmer of the Year, Hall of Fame Don Bradman Award for the athlete that most inspires Australia, Young Australian of the Year, 1999-2000; Swimmer of the Meet, Summer Olympic Games, 2000; Summer Olympics, Sydney, Australia, three gold medals, one silver medal, 2000; World's Most Outstanding Athlete, International Amateur Athletic Association, 2001; Summer Olumpics, Athens, Greece, two gold medals, one silver medal, one bronze medal, 2004.

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