By Stephen J. Thomas
SYDNEY, Australia, 19 November. THE swimming career of Ian Thorpe appears to be in the balance if you read behind the signs coming from his camp today. Both his recent coaching mentor, American Milt Nelms, and his local coach, Tracey Menzies, both indicated that Thorpe's preparation and general health, with the Aussie selection trials for the World Champs just two weeks out, place the five-time Olympic gold medalist an unlikely starter.
There are suggestions now that the 24-year-old might even hang up his big black suit following comments from Menzies that Thorpe's commitment to continue is an issue coupled with his slow recovery from glandular fever that forced him to pull out of the Commonwealth Games in March.
In recent months various conflicting reports of his training program, especially during his stay in Los Angeles, together with some of his own statements suggest that the decision to continue through to Beijing next year has become a huge burden rather than a great challenge. Coach Nelms indicated that Thorpe would make a decision on his participation in the Australian Championships in the next 48 hours. If he does not swim he will not be eligible to swim at the World Champs in March.