All is not well with Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe. Two months after the legendary swimmer was found wandering on the streets of Sydney in a dazed state, the Australian media now reports that Thorpe has been admitted to a Sydney hospital and is “quite sick.” The 31-year-old swimmer’s agent has said that Thorpe has contracted two potentially deadly infections that would in all likelihood cut his career short. Ian Thorpe may never swim competitively again, a Sydney Morning Herald report says. Another report on People magazine sounds more drastic with it saying that Ian Thorpe could lose an arm! His agent James Erskine has however rubbished such reports.
Ian Thorpe, 31, is a five-time Olympic gold medalist and had recently undergone a series of surgeries on his shoulder. The surgeries were performed at a hospital near his Switzerland home at Ronco sopra Ascona. It was after these surgeries that he contracted an infection. Thorpe has returned to Sydney since that and is currently receiving treatment inside an Intensive Care ward.
While the exact nature of the infection that has affected Thorpe is unclear, it is currently being speculated that it is similar to infections caused by the Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) superbug that has swept some hospitals in Europe. Ian Thorpe’s agent has confirmed that the infections are not life threatening in nature.
“It’s serious but it’s not life-threatening. He’s contracted two forms of bugs in hospital. He’s undergone two or three operations over the last two months so… I mean bad luck. He’s quite sick but that’s the situation,” Erskine was quoted saying to the AAP.
The SMH report adds that Ian Thorpe has been receiving a steady stream of visitors at the Sydney hospital where he has been admitted. The swimmer is also in good spirits, unperturbed by the apparent seriousness of his condition.
James Erskine has rubbished reports that initially went out saying that Ian Thorpe could lose the use of his arm because of this infection. He however adds that, the swimmer might no longer be able to participate in competitive swimming. “From a competitive point of view – he will not be swimming competitively again I don’t think,” he said while adding that Thorpe’s shoulder operation was a major one.
Ian Thorpe is widely considered an Australian sporting legend and the most decorated swimmer down under with 11 world championship Gold medals to his credit. Thorpe shot to limelight after winning three Gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He clinched two more at the 2004 Athens games – but decided to retire at the age of 24 in 2006 to everyone’s surprise.
Nicknamed ‘Thorpedo’ during his the initial days of his popularity, it has since then been a period of steady decline for the sportsman. While Ian did try to make a comeback with the 2012 London Olympics, he wasn’t able to clear the national trials and failed to qualify for the Olympics.
In his 2012 autobiography “This is Me”, Ian Thorpe also revealed his almost decade long battle with depression, suicidal thoughts and alcohol abuse.
[Image via ERR]