SwimmingWorldMagazine.com Rewind: The Thorpedo The Complete Swimming World Magazine Anthology of Ian Thorpe

By Jason Marsteller

PHOENIX, Arizona, November 29. IT is rare when a single retirement can send shockwaves through an entire sporting community. That special concurrence of long-standing greatness and the adoration of swimming fans the world over occurred on Nov. 20 when Ian Thorpe hung up his suit to pursue other interests.

After bursting onto the international scene as a 14-year-old in 1997, and becoming one of the best the sport has ever seen through a pair of Olympics, Thorpe decided to close out his competitive swimming career at the early age of 24.

With such an illustrious history available, Rewind offers up a special edition in honor of the Thorpedo. The following is the quintessential history of Thorpe as reported within the prestigious pages of Swimming World Magazine – The Record for the Sport.

We first printed Thorpe's name in April of 1997 as part of our For The Record section. At the New South Wales Championships held in Sydney, Australia from Jan. 23-26, Thorpe placed second in the 400 free with a time of 3:59.43. He touched behind Malcolm Allen's 3:56.23 at the time.

In May of 1997, Thorpe earned his first editorial mention with a third-place finish in the 400 free at the Australia Pan Pacific Trials as printed in Lane 9. He finished in 3:53.44 at the age of 14, a time which stood 10 seconds faster than the U.S. national age group record at the time.

The following month in June of 1997, Thorpe garnered top billing in the Rising Aussies piece written by Rob Woodhouse.

In October of 1997, Rob Woodhouse chipped in with another Thorpe mention as part of his Opportunity Knocks piece on that year's Pan Pacific Championships. On page 31, Thorpe's silver-medal time of 3:49.64 in the 400 free is highlighted as one of the best swims of the meet.

Thorpe's second-place finish in the 400 free at the Australian World Championship Trials in Brisbane on Oct. 9 made the November 1997 issue. Thorpe then closed out 1997 with another mention in the Year in Review piece.

After taking a few months off from earning ink in Swimming World Magazine, Thorpe came back with a vengeance in March of 1998 when he became the youngest swimmer to ever earn an individual gold medal at the World Championships with a win in the 400 free.

In July of 1998, Thorpe's head-to-head win over Aussie superstar Michael Klim in the 200 free during the Australian and Commonwealth Games Trials picked up a Lane 9 mention.

In the article, Aussies are Aus-some written by Craig Lord for the November 1998 edition of Swimming World Magazine, Thorpe's dominance of the Commonwealth Games drew the spotlight.

In December of 1998, Thorpe earned his first solo feature, Ian Thorpe: The Amazing Aussie Thorpedo written by Craig Lord. Thorpe also garnered Swimming World Magazine's World and Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year honors for the first time.

Thorpe's amazing performance in the 200 free at the World Short Course Championships held in Hong Kong from April 1-4 made the May 1999 edition. At the meet, Thorpe broke the then-longest standing men's short course record with a 1:43.28 to surpass the 1:43.64 set by Giorgio Lamberti in 1990. Thorpe's effort also made the event recap King Kong written by Craig Lord in the June 1999 publication.

In the October 1999 issue, Thorpe's world record trifecta at that year's Pan Pacific Championships snared the most press in the article Plunder Down Under written by Stephen J. Thomas. That effort, along with the great swims at the World Short Course Championships garnered Thorpe his second straight Swimming World Magazine's World and Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year awards in the December 1999 issue.

After the turn of the century, Thorpe headlined the Australian contingent rolling into the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Steven J. Thomas wrote about the Australian Olympic Trials and National Championships held from May 13-20. In the article published in July 2000, Thomas recounted another three-day three-world record outburst by the Thorpedo.

In the most concentrated set of Thorpe mentions in Swimming World Magazine history, his outstanding triple-gold, triple-world record show at the 2000 Sydney Olympics provided much material for Phillip Whitten and Michael Collins in their article entitled Party Smashers in the October 2000 edition. The Olympic effort earned Thorpe his third straight Swimming World Magazine's Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year award in the December 2000 edition.

In the September 2001 issue, we wrote about the distinct honor of several Australian swimmers, including Thorpe, that were featured on Australian postage stamps. In this Lane 9 piece, we wrote about Susie O'Neill, Thorpe and Grant Hackett along with a pair of relay teams being published on five separate stamps.

Thorpe also earned much more exposure in the September 2001 issue based on his six gold medal and four world record haul at the World Championships that year. In the article Fukuoka Feast written by Craig Lord, we wrote about how the then-18-year-old Thorpe ran roughshod over his competitors. The cover-winner of the September issue also grabbed another solo feature The Price of Glory written by Craig Lord.

Two months later, Thorpe's landmark sponsorship deals with adidas and other international constituents landed him in this Lane 9 piece.

In the year-ending December 2001 issue, Thorpe scored his fourth consecutive Swimming World Magazine's Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year honor as well as his third overall Swimming World Magazine's World Swimmer of the Year award in this article written by Bob Ingram.

After a bit of time off from being mentioned in the magazine, Thorpe's five gold medal snatch-and-grab at the 2002 Pan Pacific Championships put him squarely within the article Heart and Soul written by Stephen J. Thomas and Phillip Whitten in the October 2002 issue.

His stellar performance earned Thorpe his fifth successive Swimming World Magazine's Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year title and his fourth-and-final Swimming World Magazine's World Swimmer of the Year nod in the December 2002 issue of the magazine. He also graced the cover again during what would become the pinnacle of Thorpe's career within the pages of Swimming World Magazine.

After a year off from being significantly mentioned in the magazine, Thorpe made his way into the Voice of the Sport by Phillip Whitten in the May 2004 edition. The topic – Thorpe's controversial disqualification during the Australian Olympic Trials.

We then reported when Craig Stevens stepped aside to allow Thorpe back on the Aussie team in the 400 free in this Lane 9 item in June 2004.

Later that summer, Thorpe took home two golds, a silver and a bronze from the 2004 Athens Olympiad as related by Phillip Whitten in the article The Michael Phelps Olympics. That performance snagged Thorpe his sixth Swimming World Magazine's Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year award in the December 2004 issue.

After a one-year hiatus, Thorpe jumped back on the comeback trail by swimming at the FINA World Cup meet in Melbourne in November, as noted in this Lane 9 item in January 2006. Then, his first long course meet performance in 15 months at the NSW Championships in Sydney put him in Lane 9 again in March 2006.

The beginning of what probably led to the end of such an illustrious career was reported in Lane 9 in the June 2006 edition as Thorpe was diagnosed with glandular fever that forced him out of the Commonwealth Games.

In the last mention of Thorpe up to this point, his impending purchase of a house in Los Angeles made Lane 9 in the July 2006 issue.

While we are sure that Thorpe will continue to grace our pages in future issues as one of the greatest swimmers in the storied history of the sport, we hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane as we watched the Thorpedo grow from a 14-year-old phenom into a crossover personality in his own right.

We wish Thorpe nothing but the best in his future endeavors and will do our best to keep tabs of the swimming giant as he sets his eyes on new goals and personal bests outside of the pool.

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Walking off pool deck after Olympic 200 free victory