IAN THORPE Interview
Q: What were you thinking about when you realised you were on the way to a great victory in a world record?
A: It's not like that. Every time I go into a swimming race I try to getthe best out of myself. If that happens to be a world record, the so be it. I go into each race really focused and to see how much I can improve myself. It's kind of like seeing what all the hard work was for.
Q: Were you swimming on your own or were you in a race?
A: It's the Olympics. I race the other guys. I can't control my competitors…I can't change what they do. I go out to do the best I can do.
Q: How did you feel when you realised you'd won (the 400m)?
A: When I finished the race I didn't know what to do. I just felt this sheer energy being put inside of me when I touched the wall and turned around and realised I'd won the event and had become the Olympic champion.
It was a moment I'd dreamt off all my life.
Q: Who were you speaking to when you mouthed thank-you as you saw you'd won?
A: I was thanking alot of people. The first thing was thank you to God for letting me get to this stage. I'm very fortunate to have what I have and really it's a gift. And I'm very thankful for that. Then it was thank-you to my parents, my coach and all those who have supported me, and then it was a thank-you to Sydney and Australia for giving me the opportunity to do this in front of a home crowd and in my home city. This was a great night for my family and I was glad they were here to share it – and the same for Australia – thank you to them and to this pool.
Q: Was it a relief to have won that first gold medal?
A: It wasn't a relief. It was just so great to be able to share that moment with the whole country and fulfil a dream that I have had for a long time. I'm incredibly happy with it all – in some ways glad its over – but it all went so quickly. To be able to dream and fulfil those dreams is all that we can hope for.
Q: Is this the best day of your life?
A: This would have to be the best day of my life, the best hour of my life, the best minutes of my life. I'm jumping with joy and hopefully the rest of the country is and hopefully we'll be able to continue with this. I haven't gone to school for a while so I can't describe what it feels like.
Q: Did you achieve what you wanted to at these Games?
A: Coming into this, I didn't know what to expect at the Olympic Games. The whole time I worked on keeping myself calm. I've worked hard, trained hard and I was glad to just to race at the Olympics. When it came to it tonight and it was time to go out there and race, I walked out there just as relaxed as what I have been. I didn't psyche myself up, I just walked out there and was just proud to represent my country. Until tonight, I hadn't got the Olympic buzz. But as soon as I walked out in front of that home crowd, it was just an amazing atmosphere and it really felt like an honour
to be part of it. It felt like a gladiator walking into the Colliseum. The roar from the crowd was just amazing. I was able to feel that I was ready to race and race well.
Q: How did you manage to get back up for the relay in time?
A: Between events I swam down and changed my costume. It was kind of the most difficult thing to do was to get back into my suit. Four people had to help me. I had a few problems getting it on…then I just ran out with rest of team. It was very rushed and I had to calm everything down.
Q: What were you thinking as you brought the relay home?
A: The last part of that race is an absolute blur to me – I just swam as fast as I could – and I knew that Gary would get past me – I hoped it would be by not too much. But I just had this feeling…it was something that was truly amazing to share the moment with three others.
Q: Do you think you're success will lift the rest of the team?
A: I hope it lifts the spirit of the team…we're already in high spirits.
Q: What did you say to Michael Klim after he'd swum his leg of the relay?
A: I said 'Michael, that was a 48.18(sec)'. He said 'oh, right'…and I said 'No, Michael, you went 48.18(sec)'. He said 'are you sure'. I said 'I'm pretty sure'. We came together as a team tonight and that's why we got the result we did.
Q: Speculation will turn to when you're going to make your first million, your tenth million, etc,. Right now, what does the money mean to you?
A: I hadn't thought about it 'til you brought it up. I'd rather be a wealthy person than have a wealthy person's bank account. No matter how wealthy you are you can't buy what I have experienced tonight. I'm one of the lucky few to receive those medals…money is irrelevant…if that's what inspires you then you'll never get success out of sport. I swim because I love swimming and not because of the money.
Q: Don Talbot (head of Australian swimming) referred to you as the Swimmer of the Century. You rejected that before tonight? Do you feel differently now?
A: No. It's a definite no to that.
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