SYDNEY, Australia, January 8. WITH some Olympic champions announcing their comebacks in recent months, it should come as no surprise that all eyes are on the potential return of Australian Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe to the race pool in time for the 2012 Olympics.
In an article published today in the Sydney Morning-Herald, Thorpe's manager, David Flaskas, says that Thorpe has been training in the pool recently, but did not say how much Thorpe is swimming, or if the return to the pool means an upcoming comeback announcement.
"He's loving swimming all over again, but he's not asked me to apply to Australian swimming to get into the drug-testing regime," Flaskas told the Morning-Herald. "I still think he's got competitive juices but he also understands what it takes to compete at the level he competes at. There's a lot of water to pass under the bridge but the one thing he is doing is enjoying it and, as he has said before, you never say never."
Indeed, the swimming community has braced for Thorpe's return numerous times since his official retirement in November 2006. Reports had surfaced in previous years that Thorpe was considering a comeback, with Thorpe summarily denying such claims in press conferences.
If Thorpe does make a comeback announcement, it would be too late for the multi-world champion to compete in this summer's world championships, as all athletes must submit themselves to nine months of drug testing before any major international competition.
The article does reveal that Thorpe's return to the pool initially was to recover from injuries sustained in a car accident at the Beijing Olympics, where Thorpe was working as a commentator. Flaskas said fellow Aussie Geoff Huegill's comeback in 2009 and 2010 – resulting in a gold medal in the 100 fly at the Commonwealth Games – has fueled Thorpe's fire.
"Ian is a competitive guy, and if he was to make a return to competitive swimming, he would be doing it for his own reasons.," Flaskas said.