MELBOURNE, Australia, November 23. ALTHOUGH sidelined by shoulder surgery, Grant Hackett made headlines in the Land of Oz earlier this week. In an article by Nicole Jeffery in The Australian, Hackett indicated a desire for future duels with countryman Ian Thorpe in the 400-meter freestyle. With Thorpe seemingly focused on the 100 and 200 freestyles, there’s a chance that any further 400 battles between Hackett and his mate could be hard to find.
Thorpe recently decided to not race the 400 freestyle at next year’s Commonwealth Games, but is scheduled to contest the 100 and 200 free events. Hackett, due to his shoulder surgery, will miss the Commonwealth Games Trials and will not race in the meet in Melbourne. Still, Hackett is looking at the larger picture and a rekindled rivalry in the 400 freestyle – if possible.
"It was like racing Kieren (Perkins) in the 1500 over the years – I really enjoyed that and everything that was brought to the event," Hackett said in Jeffery’s newspaper article. "I have had that with Ian in the 400 and I would like to think we could do that again. I enjoyed racing him and I guess we could still race in the 200 but we are getting out of my forte there."
Thorpe is the world-record holder in the 400 free with Hackett rates as the second-fastest performer in the history of the event. The men have had spectacular showdowns in the past, including a dazzling matchup at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Thorpe won gold in that race, as his time of 3:43.10 held off Hackett’s 3:43.36. Last summer, Hackett won the world title in Montreal.