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Ian Thorpe

Got His Feet Wet, International Competition, Chronology, Related Biography: Coach Doug Frost, Xxvii OlympiadCONTACT INFORMATION


Australian swimmer

Athletes in the men's competitive swimming arena typically reach their physical peak just after the age of twenty. Yet while only a teenager Ian Thorpe repeatedly set and broke a number of world freestyle records. His accomplishments left the sports world in awe, as he repeatedly won gold medals in international competition. The 200-, 400-, and 800-meter freestyle swims proved to be his personal domain. At age seventeen he was the youngest man on the Australian Men's Olympic team for 2000. His outstanding performance left observers to speculate that this was a mere glimpse of what he might accomplish at the Olympics in Athens in 2004.

Thorpe was born on October 13, 1982, near Sydney, in suburban Milperra. He is the second child and only son of Ken and Margaret Thorpe. His mother, a schoolteacher, placed great emphasis on the importance of proper speech, and Thorpe took her message to heart—even as a young child his articulation rivaled that of an adult, so much that Thorpe, "… Seemed more like a 21-year-old [than a child]," according to his second-grade teacher.

Thorpe's father, a gardener, was the son of a semi-professional cricket player, which some say is the de facto national sport of Australia. Although some consideration was given to steering young Ian Thorpe toward that sport, he was righteously clumsy and displayed little aptitude for the game. Ultimately he learned to swim instead.


Address: Office: Australian Swimming Inc., P.O. Box 940, Dickson, ACT 2602, Australia. Online: www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Field/8824/thorpe.html.

Sketch by G. Cooksey

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsSwimming