SYDNEY, Australia, February 1. IAN Thorpe, a four-time Swimming World Magazine World Swimmer of the Year, is expected to announce his return from a retirement dating back to Nov. 2006 according to Nicole Jeffery of the Australian.
First hinted at in May 2010, when Thorpe first dashed speculation of a comeback bid, Thorpe's expected return comes on the heels of Olympic silver medalist Geoff Huegill's remarkable return during which he first jumped back into the pool to lose nearly 100 pounds.
Thorpe, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, is 28 years old and stated he made up his mind to return in September 2010. He began the path back with a three-day trial, then committed to three weeks before stretching his training to three months.
"I made the decision back in September to return to competitive swimming," Thorpe said in a presser today. "I was taken to the swimming venue for the London Olympics, and I could taste it. I hadn't felt this way about swimming for a very long time. I didn't get back into the pool for any other reason than to be able to compete at the elite level."
Thorpe additionally revealed that he will be focusing on relay duty for Australia with the 100 and 200 freestyles as his primary events. He also explained that Swimming Australia head coach Leigh Nugent has been coaching Thorpe via text messages with his training plan, while Thorpe rotated through eight different pools to eliminate the chance that anyone would notice that he was back to full training.
"Australia is struggling a little bit for a really strong international competitor in the pool. Someone like Ian will bolster the team – if he is back it will be extraordinary," two-time Olympic gold medalist Kieren Perkins told the Australian.
Thorpe will need to file his paperwork with FINA at least nine months before Australia's Olympic Trials, which means his paperwork would need to be in towards the end of May.