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Gathercole Issues Statement -- February 3, 2000

Australian Swimming Incorporated President Terry Gathercole issued the following statement regarding world champion swimmer Ian Thorpe.

Ian Thorpe, the Young Australian of the Year and Australian Swimmer of the Year for 1999, is held in the highest possible esteem both as a swimmer and as a person by Australian Swimming Inc.

His performances in the pool over the past three years have made him one of Australia's most admired sporting heroes and a young man who is revered throughout all communities and walks of life.

The way he conducts himself outside the pool is extraordinary for a 17-year-old and we at Australian Swimming are proud of his attributes.

We are also proud of his stance against doping and his participation in launching the new blood testing procedures during the World Short Course Championships in Hong Kong last year.

Ian, along with other members of the Telstra Dolphins Australian team, took part in the first experimental blood testing procedures in an all-out effort to stamp out drug cheats. Ian was the unofficial voice of Australia's anti-drugs campaign throughout those World Short Course Championships. Australian Swimming also endorses the stance made today by its National head coach Don Talbot, who has strongly campaigned for the introduction of blood testing to protect the innocent. Ian Thorpe is a fine young Australian, from a fine Australian family, an outstanding young swimmer who we at Australian Swimming believe, deserves our full support.

Terry Gathercole AM
President
Australian Swimming Inc.