Sunday, 9 January 2011

More Ian Thorpe Comeback Rumours

Typical Thorpe, no-one even close to him

Ah, nothing like some fresh Ian Thorpe comeback rumours to kick off 2011 in style. 
Speed Endurance readers rejoice. You asked for it, and it looks like you're going to get it. Last month 138 of you voted for Ian Thorpe as the swimmer you wanted to see comeback the most. I guess Thorpe reads the blog too...

Here are the Thorpe comeback facts to come out today:-
  • Thorpedo has been swimming four or five times a week 'for fitness' with former training partner Craig Stevens.
  • According to Stevens, "the technique was there, the stroke was there and everything was going really well."
  •  Australian national head coach Leigh Nugent has been providing him with training programs.
  • He is doing more swimming now than ever since retiring in 2006 and has lost 10kg.

Back in May last year I looked at what form a Thorpe comeback could take. Not too much has really changed since then.
  • I still don't think Thorpe will be able to comeback in the 400m Free, the sheer volume of training he would need to do would be too much after 4 years out of the water.
  •  Thorpe would only swim the individual 200m Free if he had a realistic shot at a medal (ie. managing to get back down to 1:44 or 1:45). There is no way he would want to damage his legacy in the sport by finishing 8th in the 200m Free final in London. 
  •  The most likely events for him will be the 4 x 100m Free and 4 x 200m Free relays, with a possible individual 200m Free thrown in if all goes to plan. To make the Aussie team he probably needs to get down to a low/mid-48 on the 100m (his best time is 48.56 from the Athens Olympics) and around 1:46 or 1:47-low to make the 200m Free team (his best time 1:44.06 from Worlds in 2001).
  • Even with Thorpe back to his best, the chances of Australia winning either relay are remote at best, however, he would certainly make Australia strong medal contenders, especially in the 4 x 200m Free. In both relays the US men are still favourites. In the 4 x 100m Free they will face strong challenges from France and Russia, whilst in the 4 x 200m Free it will likely come down to a head to head between USA and Russia.
The top 4 Aussies in each event last year.

100m Free

Eamon Sullivan - 48.52 (9th in the world)
Kyle Richardson - 48.69 (15th in the world)
Matthew Abood - 48.91 (25th in the world)
James Magnussen - 48.93 (27th in the world)

200m Free

Thomas Fraser-Holmes - 1:47.04 (11th in the world)
Kenrick Monk - 1:47.37 (16th in the world)
Nicholas Ffrost - 1:47.48 (19th in the world)
Patrick Murphy - 1:48.30 (36th in the world)


  1. I feel like Thorpe might try the 100 individual race. That seemed to be his plan in 2006 before he ended up retiring. The 400 has never been part of his plan post-Athens, and I agree he will not pick it up again. By Aussie team, do you mean top-four or top-six? Remember, they take six or seven swimmers to the Olympics for relays. That's how Felicity Galvez got on the Beijing team, since she got 7th in the 200 free final at Trials. Ditto Nick Ffrost.

    Relays always shake up in Olympic years. Who saw South Africa coming one year out of Athens? Who saw France one year out of Beijing? So we'll see.

    *COUGH!* (Russia's overrated.) *COUGH!*

  2. He might try for the individual 100m Free but I'm not convinced. He is naturally a middle distance guy, not a sprinter, and that's something you're born with. Sure, he could train solely for sprinting and get down to a strong 100m time (48.1, 48.2 lets say), but I don't see him getting past natural speed guys like Cielo, Adrian, Hayden, Bernard and even, health permitting, Sullivan. Saying that, he's a World and Olympic bronze medalist in the 100m Free so there is some scope for it.

    Pretty gutsy to call Russia overrated. Considering the fact that the 4 x 100 relay is likely to be viewed as a USA vs France duel right up until London. That is unless the Russians have a big performance in Shanghai. I would say they are underrated.

  3. I mostly meant overrated in the 4x200 relay. A fully tapered, top-strenth Russian squad beat a U.S. squad with a half-tapered Ryan Lochte (who had just swam a 3:55 in the 400 IM) and a half-tapered Peter Vanderkaay and no Michael Phelps. If the U.S. loses THAT relay when full-strength... well, something's wrong.

  4. After what happened last time (retiring even when having done the training for an olympics), I'm not sure he wouldn't wimp out again, so I'm jaded about this.

  5. I think he's going to give it a go... A little known fact about Thorpe is that he was at the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11. A fashion shoot or something... He was gone well before the planes hit but that sort of weird close call would shake anyone up and do so for a while... Probably reading way too much into this but I'm thinking that he - Thorpe - might feel that the years up 'till Athens were spent squaring that circle and perhaps now he wants to go back to capture some of the joy of his earlier career. Pyscho-babble, I know, but...