Ian Thorpe back training, comeback possible

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Ian Thorpe is back training in the pool and has not ruled out a return to competition in time for the London 2012 Olympics.

Updated: January 09, 2011 09:08 IST
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Ian Thorpe is back training in the pool and has not ruled out a return to competition in time for the London 2012 Olympics.

Dave Flaskas, manager for the 28-year-old five-time Olympic gold medalist, told the AP today that while "it's a long way from here to London," Thorpe is enjoying swimming again and "never say never".

Flaskas said in order to be eligible for the London Games, Thorpe would have to begin drug-testing in the next six to eight weeks to make him eligible a year out from the Australian trials next February or March.

Thorpe retired in 2006 after setting 13 world records and winning 11 world championship golds.

His wins in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics were in his last major international meet.

Flaskas said "2011 is already wiped out" as far as competitive swimming was concerned because of the lack of drug testing.

"At the moment, he is just enjoying training, and we'll see where it goes," Flaskas said. "He's working out on his own, his shoulder problems (a broken shoulder blade) seem to be gone, but he's still a long way from competitive training."

Thorpe told Sydney's Sunday Telegraph, which sighted him training at Sydney's Caringbah Leisure Center pool yesterday, that "I never really stopped swimming, I'm just doing more of it now, and I'm really enjoying getting into shape."

Flaskas said Thorpe was "delighted" with 30-year-old Geoff Huegill's gold-medal comeback at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games but that was not his inspiration for a return to training.

Flaskas said Thorpe had no plans to do any training outside Sydney and was training alone.

Flaskas said Thorpe's primary reason for training was to stay fit for all the world travel he does as a young ambassador for the World Economic Forum and his business commitments.

"He does a lot of travel to Japan, he just came back from the UAE, he gave a speech in Chicago," Flaskas said. "His life now goes beyond sport. Fitness is really important when you spend a lot of time at 35,000 feet."

Last May, Thorpe issued a statement saying he was not planning a return to swimming after a Brisbane newspaper said he was seeking to earn a place on an Australia 4x100 freestyle relay team for London.

Thorpe was the world's highest-profile swimmer until Michael Phelps came onto the scene, and had a list of lucrative endorsement deals. But he admitted last year that he'd had financial problems after his personal savings were affected by the global economic crisis.

Thorpe burst onto the international stage as a teenager in 1999 and won three gold medals - all in world record time -and two silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. 

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