Thorpe Deciding Against Trying to Match Spitz’s 7 Olympic Gold

SYDNEY, Australia, February 17. IAN THORPE said yesterday it was unlikely he would attempt to chase seven gold medals in the pool at the Athens Olympics, the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports.

Don Talbot, former Australian national head coach, had urged the 21-year-old Thorpe, a triple world record holder, to try to equal American Mark Spitz's seven gold medals at one Olympics.

"But Thorpe said he would focus on his freestyle events. He appears to be leaning against trying to qualify in the 200m individual medley when the Olympic Trials are held in Sydney in late March.

"'I doubt I'll be swimming seven (in Athens), I really do,' Thorpe said yesterday.

"'I'm concentrating on my freestyle events – the 100, 200 and 400 (metres) freestyle.

"'I'm almost finalised that they are probably the only events that I'll be doing and the only consideration into another one will have to be a decision that is made in the next couple of weeks before the Olympic Trials."

"Thorpe would need to add the 200 individual medley to his three individual freestyle races as well as three team relays in Athens to have a chance to match Spitz's total.

"Coach Tracey Menzies has expressed concern about Thorpe having to swim the 100m freestyle final, then the 200m individual medley semi-final only minutes later.

"Thorpe has competed in seven events at most major meets since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"He won silver in the 200 medley behind American world record holder Michael Phelps at last year's Barcelona world titles in his first attempt in the event at a major international meet.

Thorpe won three golds at Barcelona.

Phelps, who has talked of possibly doing eight events in Athens, has been offered a US$1million bonus by Speedo if he can match Spitz's record from the 1972 Munich Olympics.

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