Ian James Thorpe (born October 13, 1982) is an Olympic Australian swimmer who won the most gold medals of any Australian athlete. He is most notably known for being the youngest to win a world championship. Thorpe specializes in freestyle but also competes in backstroke and individual medley. On November 21 2006 he announced his retirement from swimming after 10 years on the Australian team, citing that he has lost the desire, and “there are things in my life that are more important to me and I have to pursue them now”. Surprise! In 2011, he announced he return to swimming, wanting to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. The comeback was unsuccessful.

Greatest Sporting Achievements

Ian Thorpe won five Olympic gold medals, three silver and one bronze. During the 2001 World Aquatics Championships, Thorpe became the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship. He is the third-highest swimmer in terms of most gold medals won with eleven gold World Championships. From 1999 to 2003, he was recognized as the Australian Swimmer of the Year and was the first ever swimmer to have been named Swimming World Summer of the Year four times. Thorpe was also recognized as the Young Australian Athlete in 2000 and his athletic achievements made him one of the country’s most popular athletes.

Why Is He So Good?

Thorpe’s performance was labeled “extraordinary” and “superior” by Swimming World but Australian former head coach Don Talbot said that Thorpe depended on his kick profoundly, sacrificing his arms. Thorpe was acknowledged for his six-beat jolt to power away from his opponents in the finishing stages of championships, the success of which was credited to his size 17 feet.

What You May Not Know

  • Ian Thorpe was initially allergic to chlorine but overcame it to compete hard and win international honors in swimming when he was only 14 years old.
  • He held 22 world records in swimming.
  • Ian Thorpe is a fluent French speaker.
  • He was only 15 when he became the youngest gold medalist in World Championships history, winning the 400m freestyle race in 1998.
  • In 2004, he created his own signature underwear line named “it”.
  • Thorpe is an ambassador of Armani clothing and has his own line of jewelry.

 This article first appeared on www.topendsports.com

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