With five Olympic gold medals and eleven championship wins and titles, Ian Thorpe is a trailblazer in the sport of swimming. But where is he now?
Dealing with Mental Health Struggles
It is worth noting that the field of sports is challenging and competitive. The playing field favors those who have the physical stamina and mental grit to come out as champions among other players. This, in itself, causes mental health struggles in most athletes. True enough, the “Thorpedo” is no exception in this matter.
Recently, Thorpe revealed that he is passionate to help and equip teenagers with the skills they needed to deal with mental health struggles.
Thorpe’s experience with mental health struggles especially when he was a teenager in the sporting world has fueled his passion to help teenagers deal with mental health issues. Ian Thorpe doesn’t want his mental health struggles to define him anymore.
In March 2021, Thorpe started to work with private organizations that help teenagers deal with mental health struggles and issues. One of these organizations is called the `Laps for Life’ which encourages Australians to participate and join in the cause of raising funds for mental health projects and campaigns.
Indeed, Ian Thorpe is not just an international champion in the sports community, but he is a champion of mental health as well.
At the early age of five, Thorpe’s love for swimming has been realized when he started competing in the sport. Born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Thorpe fell in love with swimming and later on, he finds himself excelling in the pool. For him, it was his arena – a place where he can show his strength and prowess.
Thorpe’s sister has played a great part in his love for swimming. As a kid, he loved to tag along with her sister to the pool. Eventually, he found out that he was allergic to chlorine. But, this does not discourage him to pursue what he loves the most.
With the use of a nose clip, Thorpe was able to compete and climb the steps of swimming championships. It is no wonder he was dubbed the “Thorpedo” because of his towering height and large feet that even resemble that of flippers.
In 1994, Thorp was hailed as the captain of the New South Wales team. He successfully carried and represented his team in the Australian Primary Schools Championship. It wasn’t later in the year 1997 that Thorp was able to feel the competitive spirit of the international limelight.
This same year, he qualified for the Pan Pacific Championships held in Fukuoka, Japan. This time, Thorpe was able to clinch a silver medal and made history as the youngest Australian to win a medal at this international swimming competition.
There is no stopping Thorpe’s wins and triumphs in swimming. During the entire course of his career, Thorpe was recognized as the most successful Australian swimmer the country has ever seen. In 2006, the whole world was shocked when Thorpe decided not to compete anymore.
Although it was a premature decision to make, Thorpe decided to address his mental health struggles and strengthen his mental grit first.
Ian Thorpe entered the Olympics swimming competition in 2000 when it was held in his home country Sydney, Australia. Thorpe left a lasting impression on the international sports community when he successfully won three gold medals and one silver medal at the Olympics.
By the next year, Thorpe is breaking records and setting new world records by winning the 200-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle, and the 800-meter freestyle as well. Two of his gold medals have been won when competing in the 4 × 100-meter freestyle and 4 × 100-meter medleys.
Thorpe’s gold medals have helped carried his entire team into success in the Olympics field. Thorpe was then hailed as the “Best Male Performer” in the male swimming category. In 2003, Thorpe’s wins are gaining traction.
He won three gold medals in the 2003 international championships and in the 2004 Olympics, Thorpe clinched two gold medals, one silver medal, and also won a bronze medal. Indeed, the “Thorpedo” never gets tired of winning giving record-breaking performances in every game he sets his heart to.
In 2006, Thorpe was set to join and prepare for the Commonwealth Games. However, he withdraws from the said competition because of his worsening illness. In that same year, Thorpe decided to retire at the age of 24 which left the world surprised by his abrupt decision.
In 2011, Thorpe then announced that he would make his career comeback at the 2012 Olympics to be held in London. Conversely, Thorpe didn’t make the cut for the Australian Olympic team.