Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Ian Thorpe Comeback - Winners and Losers


The Sport Of Swimming - When was the last time swimming garnered this much attention? It certainly didn't happen in 2010. 2009? Possibly with the new suits and multitude of world records, however I don't recall Paul Biedermann generating this much attention when he was winning in Rome. The last time swimming had this much attention was Beijing and Michael Phelps winning his 8 gold medals.

Swimming Australia - This is the best thing that could have happened to Swimming Australia. Their prodigal son has returned and he will inject life into an Australian team that has suffered over the last few years. Geoff Huegill got the 'positivity' ball rolling, Libby Trickett furthered the momentum and Thorpedo will hit it out of the park. Swimming is front page news again in Australia.

Michael Phelps - The news of Thorpe's return should come at the perfect time for Phelps. We continue to hear about the need for Phelps to increase his training and to be more motivated. If the threat of getting beaten by your childhood idol who has spent the last 4 years out of the water doesn't motivate Phelps, I don't know what will. Thorpe's return will give Phelps even more exposure than he receives currently as the media hype up the Phelps vs Thorpe matchup.

Paul Biedermann - For those blinkered enough to believe that Biedermann, personally, has damaged the sport with his suit-aided success, he will have a great chance at taking Thorpe down in the 200m Free on a level playing field, and in doing so presumably improving his reputation within the sport. Additionally, Thorpe won't be a threat to his WR... Park Tae Hwan Park and Sun Yang on the other hand will be.

Men's 4 x 100m Free - Whilst the addition of Thorpe won't turn the Australian's into favourites for the relay, it has certainly boosted their hopes. Australia has a deep group of sprint freestylers, I'm betting they push a bit harder in training today knowing that Thorpedo could be taking their spot. The race itself will be one of the marquee events in London. USA, France, Russia, Australia, South Africa and Brazil will all battle it out in a real humdinger of a relay.


Ryan Lochte - After a stellar 2010, Lochte has emerged as the world's best swimmer. His rivalry with Phelps and his supreme talent were all set to be the main swimming stories heading into the Olympics. However, if today's press is anything to go by, Lochte has become an afterthought. In the BBC's article where Steve Parry, Karen Pickering and Mark Foster discuss Thorpe's comeback, Phelps was mentioned 14 times, Lochte 0 times. As it stand now, swimming at the next Olympics will all be about Thorpe vs Phelps, despite the fact you could argue neither of them are favourites in the 100m or 200m Free.

Milorad Cavic - Milorad who? The public's memory can be painfully short. After an injury plagued 2010 he needed to re-establish his fierce rivalry with Phelps this year. Ofcourse he can still do that, but in a similar way to Lochte, it risks being turned into a sub-plot in London rather than the headline event.

One Australian Sprinter - Assuming Thorpe makes the team, it stands to reason that the Olympic dreams of one would-be Australian relay member will be over (atleast for another 4 years). That list could include the likes of Cameron Prosser, Matt Targett, Tommaso D'Orsagna and Matt Abood.

Women's Swimming - The likes of Katie Hoff, Steph Rice and Rebecca Adlington garnered plenty of attention prior, during and after Beijing 2008 giving women's swimming a real shot in the arm. Ahead of London they are going to be competing with swimming's two biggest ever stars for column inches.


  1. When Lochte beats them all.. they will remember who he is.. I hope they don't talk about him. It will just fuel his fire.

  2. very good point about cavic.
    Eventhough I know that cavic and phelps virtually tied wearing the same suits in Beijing. I cant picture cavic being faster than 50.7 or 50.8 this summer because he was MIA last summer.

  3. Let's not forget that Milorad Cavic is a driven, tenacious, athlete. There could be some surprises in the swimming world this year,
    however, I would not take my eye off of Cavic, as he could surprise all of us.

  4. Cavic wore the full body suit, where as Phelps wore the legskin. So not the same suit. And we all know what happened in Rome. :)