Herald Sun: Ian Thorpe Admitted to Rehab After Battling Depression, Alcohol Abuse

The Australian media is reporting that Olympic superstar Ian Thorpe has been admitted to a Sydney hospital to fight “his decade-long battle with depression and alcohol abuse.”

According to the Herald Sun, who say they spoke with Thorpe’s family, the 31-year old has been battling alcoholism for a long time, which was confirmed to them by broadcaster Alan Jones: a close friend of Thorpes.

Thorpe first opened up about his struggles in an autobiography published last year.

Thorpe, considered one of the best freestylers in swimming history, has a total of 9 Olympic medals, 5 of which are gold. He attempted a comeback for the 2012 Olympics, but failed to make the team at the Olympic Trials. A shoulder injury has derailed his plans to continue a comeback.

Depression in athletes after retirement is becoming a heavily studied topic, with psychologists believing that the number of sacrifices and the amount of whole-life commitment required to be an elite athlete can leave a jarring hole after retirement. Read more here.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

Good luck Ian!

8 years ago

Looks like this is on hold?

Good luck to him, man.

8 years ago

Very sad, but courageous to seek this kind of help, with all the publicity it will draw. I hope he manages to recover. The amazing thing is he already drank heavily in the years before the 2004 Olympics where he still won 2 individual golds, so it’s not just because of his retirement.

Reply to  Lennart van Haaften
8 years ago

I agree, Lennart. We need to understand that this is not just the usual ups and downs that can come with transition to retirement. The level of depression that results in the degree of alcoholism that requires hospitalization and rehab is usually a serious mental illness, and then the alcohol dependence can itself become a co-primary mental illness as well, and they feed off each other in a vicious cycle. Add a chronic pain syndrome like Thorpe’s nagging back injury into the mix, and the challenge becomes even more daunting.

I am completely in awe that he was able to accomplish his amazing feats while also battling these demons for over a decade. That said, he himself has stated… Read more »

Reply to  liquidassets
8 years ago

Thorpe has had inner personal conflict.
I hope one day he comes to terms with himself.
I can’t imagine how it must have felt having these problems and be in the nation’s spotlight and felt the need to be “ideal”.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »