Doping case tarnished my image: Thorpe

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Despite winning five Olympic gold medals, Ian Thorpe says his name will always be tarnished because of a doping controversy.

Updated: November 27, 2007 11:43 IST
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Despite winning five Olympic gold medals, Ian Thorpe says his name will always be tarnished because of a doping controversy.

During the world swimming championships in Melbourne in March, a French newspaper was given details of a drug sample he returned in May 2006 that showed abnormal levels of naturally occurring substances testosterone and epitestosterone.

Speaking publicly for the first time since being cleared earlier this month by world swimming governing body FINA, and two months after the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority said he had no case to answer, Thorpe on Monday said he was relieved the ordeal was over.

"I was glad when it was over but, you know, it's not really over yet and it never will be," Thorpe said. "My name is forever tarnished, more so overseas than what it is here, and that's something that I continue to have to deal with."

Asked if he could ever restore his reputation 100 percent, Thorpe said: "No, you can't. It's not possible."

Thorpe, who retired last December after a career that included 11 world championship titles, said he hadn't ruled out taking legal action to identify the person who leaked confidential information to the newspaper while the matter was still being investigated by ASADA.

"Anything's a possibility," Thorpe said. "I've got to think what's right and what's morally right for me."

Thorpe, 25, says he has no regrets about quitting the sport that made him one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.

"I'd love to be training for it and I'd love to be racing at it _ but that's it," said Thorpe. "I don't want everything else that comes with it."

Thorpe said he was enjoying doing "a lot of television, a lot of business in Asia" since quitting.

"I'm trying to wind down towards the end of the year, but it seems to be winding up," he said.

"But the business interests that I developed while I was swimming and the kind of career aspirations that I had post-swimming ... putting all those things into place, it's been good."

Thorpe was speaking at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre during his first inspection of the pool named in his honor in downtown Sydney.

"It's incredible," he said. "I'm very proud to have the first city pool that's been built in Sydney for the past 30 years and there's an honor that comes with that kind of title."

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