When Ian Thorpe decided to return to the pool in February of 2011 his intial goal was to qualify for the London Olympics in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 freestyle relays. That goal was far from being achieved. At the Australian Olympic Trials in March Thrope finished 12th in the 200 freestyle (1:49.91) and 21st in the 100 freestyle (50.35).
After missing a berth on the Australian Olympic team Thorpe told the press that he had not regretted his return to the pool and that his failure to make the Olympics was not the end of his comeback, “I intend to [continue]. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing,” Thorpe told The Telegraph.
“I’ve enjoyed training again, I’ve enjoyed pushing myself in the pool and I’ll keep on swimming until I feel I cannot get any more out of myself.”
“I think it’s better to attempt something and fail than it is to not even attempt it, so I’m glad that I’ve been prepared to put myself on the line there.”
Eight months later he still feels the same way.
In an article written by BBC’s Nick Hope Thorpe was quoted as saying, “I still have a life in the pool.”
“I simply didn’t have enough time [before London] to prepare the way I wanted to and I had to compromise.”
“Now I can do exactly the training that I need to do with time on my side and I can get a preparation that will enable me to swim really well.”
Since the Australian Olympic Trials Thorpe has been busy; he worked at the Olympics as a pundit for BBC Television and since November has been promoting his book ‘This Is Me’.
In December he told the Australian he was ready to return to the pool without distraction, “I’ve had a few things that have kind of interrupted training but I’m happy preparing, and being able to get back in after the Olympics, feeling motivated by the Olympics as well.”
In his most recent interview with the BBC it is very obvious that he is not only enjoying training again, but that he has reconnected with the love he had for the sport as a child, “Having success again would be what that younger athlete I once was would tell me to do.”
… Thorpe initially retired in 2006 with great reluctance; at the time it appeared the Ian Thorpe brand was becoming much bigger than Ian Thorpe the athlete and simply wasn’t leaving enough time for him to commit to his training.
Even though at the time he stressed that he was too young to retire he felt he needed more balance in his life, “Swimming has been a security blanket but I haven’t balanced out my life. I realised I had to prioritise other things and let swimming take a backseat,” Thorpe told the BBC in 2006.
“I’m looking at the next phase and that means I’m realigning what the most important thing is for me to do.
“Swimming is not at the top of the list, which has not happened before.”