The world of swimming has been stunned by the news that five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe has hung up his goggles and retired at the age of 24. Thorpe made the announcement at a packed press conference: “I am actually going to discontinue my professional swimming career. It was a tough decision but one that I am very pleased that I have made and I have been working towards this decision for quite some time. I am a 24-year-old, and I am only ust 24 as well, I am young enough to still see the new challenges and be able to accept them within my life but I am also old enough now that I realise all of those accomplishments that have got me to this place in my life.”
Thorpe has been dogged by illness and injury. His last big event was the 2004 Olympics. He missed the 2005 World Championships after taking a year off and then pulled out of the Commonwealth Games earlier this year because of glandular fever. He won three gold medals at the 2000 Games in Sydney, and a further two at Athens four years later. He also claimed 11 world titles and 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals.