Thorpe sets cautious goals for return

Updated: 2011-05-12 15:47
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LONDON - Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe used to leave Olympic opponents trailing in his mighty wake but now he is just happy to be competing again with any talk of medals in London next year.

Australia's most successful Olympian announced his return to swimming in February having retired in 2006 after picking up five golds, three silvers and a bronze at the 2000 and 2004 Games along with 11 world championship titles.

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Famous for enormous feet which act like flippers and gained him the nickname 'Thorpedo', Thorpe is treading in the smaller footsteps of great champions who made comebacks like Lance Armstrong, Bjorn Borg and Formula One's Michael Schumacher.

All three failed to recapture their former glory but Thorpe is not bothered if he fails to make a splash back in the pool.

"If you look at Schumacher, look at what he has done returning to his sport, clearly he loves what he does. People forget there's something about us that enjoys what we do," said the 28-year-old.

"We're not always people striving for results. My goal when I started swimming again was that I wanted to swim better than when I used to swim. For me that's a significant goal. What results come from that, I don't know. I don't have control over that."

Bodysuit Comeback?

Thorpe is set to target the relays and the 100 and 200 freestyle at the London Games but a lot has changed in swimming since his pomp.

The performance-enhancing super suits which led to a slew of almost unbreakable world records at the 2009 world championships are banned but the Australian reckons full body costumes will make a comeback if a compromise is found which pleases everyone.

"It was a shame there was such a focus around swimsuits," he said. "I think we'll end up with swimsuits again, I just think there will be more restrictions around them."

Thorpe had jetted into London to launch an adiZone outdoor gym in a London park in the shadow of the Olympic stadium and aquatics centre.

"I think London is shaping up for a great Olympics," he said having revealed a secret love of camera equipment. "The facilities look incredible. Any sport-loving nation will do a great job with the Olympics."