Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ian Thorpe comeback: Secretive because he was not so sure he could follow through!

ABC in Australia has a profile on Ian Thorpe's decision to return to competitive swimming:

"I really can't believe I am making a comeback," he said on board his flight to Abu Dhabi, his training base for the next few weeks.

"Because when I started doing this I actually never thought I'd go through with it.

"That's why it was so secretive because I really wanted to be able to turn away from this and no-one to know what had just been going on."


Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Ian Thorpe are roughly same age. When you think of the "elder statesman" of the bunch, you think of Ian Thorpe but Thorpe is roughly just 2-years older than the other two. I attribute this maturity to way he conducts himself in the press, through his charities, his businesses, and finally his accomplishments. Consequently, his endorsements are more believable; "jeah!"

Perhaps these three will face off in the 200-free at the London Games? I have to say that Thorpe would be coming into match-up seemingly more motivated than Michael Phelps; (Who had to be pulled off the golf course and/or a poker table late into last year), and more specialized than Ryan Lochte who wants it all and more. This leads to the next question: Will Ryan Lochte be the next Michael Phelps or will his events be so diversified and his competition so niche focused that he does well in all but great in none?

I suspect that there is only one Michael Phelps this decade much like the 1970's when there was just one Mark Spitz. Ryan Lochte is a great swimmer; emphasis on the word great, but so was Matt Biondi and though he was faster than Spitz he could not match his accomplishments. I feel that the Matt Biondi comparison between Phelps and Lochte is valid.

The world has caught up. I am glad that Thorpe is going to attempt to be part of it. If you don't think he can win a medal because he is too old, I have two words for you: Jason Lezak - but then again there is Dara Torres, Gary Hall and Aaron Peirsol too.

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