Italian Olympian Filippo Magnini has revealed he is returning to competitive swimming after having been retired for nearly 3 years.
The 38-year-old freestyle ace posted on Instagram this week that ‘he’s back’, indicating that his decision to return ‘wasn’t an easy choice.’
Amidst his accolades, including an Olympic bronze medal in the men’s 800 free relay at the 2004 Games in Athens, Magnini was also involved in a doping scandal which almost cost him his career.
In the fall of 2019, the Italian anti-doping organization (NADO) officially banned Magnini and fellow swimmer Michele Santucci for four years each. Both were accused of “use or attempted use of doping substances,” and Magnini was also accused of abetting and administration or attempted administration of a prohibited substance.
In his appeal to NADO, Magnini “objected to the facts found against him by the Italian National Anti-Doping Tribunals.” Both swimmers appealed their bans with a national anti-doping tribunal. Santucci won his appeal and had his suspension dropped, but Magnini’s appeal was rejected.
Magnini pursued a case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and was successful. In February of 2020, CAS officially overturned Magnini’s suspension.
Reflecting on his ordeal while announcing his return to swimming, the 4-time World Champion and 17-time European Champion said, “I went through the darkness, I almost touched the bottom but all this instead of throwing myself down gave me the right motivation to fight, to win, to return to racing demonstrating what my sporting prowess has always been.
“Today my sport is suffering and I cannot stand and watch. I’m going back to the water, for me, for my family for my country. It’s official… see you in the starting blocks. #ReMagnoIsBack .
2020 is becoming a big year for Magnini, who also revealed that he and partner, Gio Palmas, are expecting their first child together.
Magnini racked up 53 international swimming medals across both short and long course, including standing atop the podium with the men’s 100m freestyle gold in both Montreal (2005) and Melbourne (2007) at those years’ World Championships.