Ian Thorpe has today announced he has retired from swimming. To me, this is a shock because he is still so young, but at the same time, it seems like it has been so long since he has swam due to illness and injuries.
Thorpe has done a fantastic job representing Australia in the sport of swimming and Australia is very proud of him!
Well done Thorpie on an incredible career!
Australia's greatest Olympian Ian Thorpe has announced his retirement from competitive swimming.
The five-time Olympic gold medallist, and multiple world record holder, has told a press conference in Sydney he is quitting the pool at the age of 24.
He told today of the dizzying heights and setbacks that marked his career as he announced that he is stopping his professional swimming career.
He said swimming was no longer at the top of his priority list, saying there were things that were important in his life.
Thorpe said he made the decision on Sunday shortly after deciding he would not compete at next year's world championships in Melbourne.
"As of 2.53 on Sunday afternoon I decided I would not be swimming the world championships,'' Thorpe said.
"I also made a very difficult decision that day that I am actually going to discontinue my professional swimming career.
"I'd been working towards this decision for quite some time. I'm a 24-year-old, and I'm only just 24 as well.
"I'm young enough to still see the new challenges and be able to accept them within my life.
"I'm also old enough now that I realise all of these accomplishments that have got me to this place in my life.
"I also know there is a lot of people out there that want me to keep swimming.
"I only hoped that I wanted to swim half as much as other people want me to.''
Thorpe is regarded as one of the greatest swimmers of all time after winning 11 world titles, five Olympic gold medals and setting 13 individual long-course world records.
Worn down by the grind of training, he took a year off after winning the 200 metres and 400m freestyle titles at the 2004 Athens Olympics and his comeback plans were thwarted by illness, injury and waning motivation.
He had a three-month sojourn in Los Angeles this year in a bid to revitalise his swimming.
Thorpe said he had felt in peak physically fitness during his time in LA, but also began to question his future in the sport.
"One other thing happened in LA, as I got physically fit, my mind also got fit, I started asking a lot of questions.
"And I started to look at myself as a person. That begged another question: What would my life be without swimming?
"It's been a security net for me. But what it's meant is I haven't balanced out my life the way I should.
"So I realised I had to prove other things and let swimming take a back seat at this stage.
"I'm looking at a next phase, and that next phase means I am realigning the most important thing for me to do.
"Swimming falls somewhere short, which is never the way it used to be.''
On the possibility of a comeback in the future, Thorpe said: "I won't rule it out, I never rule anything out, but it's not going to happen.''
He did not want to reveal his future plans.
Of his decision, Thorpe said: "It's emotional because I see my entire swimming career flash before my eyes.
"I've had a great career. It isn't the best time to be walking away from the sport but it's my time.''
Ian Thorpe celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 200 metres freestyle at the Athens Olympic Games.
.... Just another day ....