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Summary Article: Thorpe, Ian (James) from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Australian swimmer who won numerous Olympic and World titles in his short-lived career. Known as the ‘Thorpedo’, he took nearly two seconds off the 400-metre freestyle world record at the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships and claimed the world record for the 200-metre freestyle event. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics he won three gold and two silver medals, setting world records in the 400-metre freestyle and the 4 × 400-metre freestyle relay. At the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, he won six gold medals, four of which were in a world record time. His six Commonwealth gold medals in 2002 matched the best ever performance by an athlete at the Games. He won three more gold medals at the 2003 World Championships and another two at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Career highlights

Olympic Games gold 200-metre freestyle 2004; gold 400-metre freestyle 2000, 2004; gold 4×100-metre freestyle relay 2000; gold 4 × 200-metre freestyle relay 2000; silver 200-metre freestyle 2000; silver 4 × 100-metre medley relay 2000; silver 4 × 200-metre freestyle relay 2004; bronze 100-metre freestyle 2004

World Championships gold 200-metre freestyle 2001, 2003; gold 400-metre freestyle 1998, 2001, 2003; gold 800-metre freestyle 2001; gold 4 × 100-metre medley relay 2001; gold 4 × 100-metre freestyle relay 2001; gold 4 × 200-metre freestyle relay 1998, 2001, 2003; silver 200-metre individual medley 2003; bronze 100-metre freestyle 2003

World Short Course Championships gold 200-metre freestyle 1999; gold 4 × 100-metre freestyle relay 1999; silver 400-metre freestyle 1999

Commonwealth Games gold 100-metre freestyle 2002; gold 200-metre freestyle 1998; gold 400-metre freestyle 1998, 2002; gold 4 × 100-metre freestyle relay 1998, 2002; gold 4 × 200-metre freestyle relay 1998, 2002; gold 4 × 100-metre medley relay 2002

Thorpe announced his retirement from swimming in 2006 shortly after his 24th birthday, citing waning motivation. He made a comeback in 2011, but failed to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

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