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Rio Olympics: Michael Phelps won't have it easy, says Ian Thorpe

Australian swim legend Ian Thorpe says 18-time Olympic gold medal winner will face stiff competition in Rio, but his first task would be to make US team

Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe predicts a tough time in the pool for America's 18-time Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps.

Australian Ian Thorpe during a media interaction in the city yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Australian Ian Thorpe during a media interaction in the city yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Roped in as commentator by Star Sports for the upcoming Rio Olympics, the 33-year-old Aussie, famously known as 'Thorpedo', spoke to mid-day about the Games, his love for India and his gay revelation two years ago.

Excerpts:

On American Michael Phelps' last Olympics:
First of all, he is going to have to make the team. Besides, there is very stiff competition around the world in the events that he is strong in (individual events). And he has just had a child. It is not going to be easy for him at Rio. You always back a champion and he is special. This (Rio) could be his last chance and I hope he does well.

On Australian swimmers' medal chances at Rio:
We will be behind the Americans. We could win around four to six gold medals. In the 100m freestyle, we have Cameron McEvoy ranked No 1 among men and the Campbell sisters Bronte and Kate, who are ranked women's No 1 and 2 respectively. For America, the two women, who will dominate, are Katie Ledecky (800m freestyle gold at London 2012) and Missy Franklin (four gold medals at London Games)

USA's Michael Phelps en route to his 100m butterfly gold at the Beijing Olympics. Pic/AFP
USA's Michael Phelps en route to his 100m butterfly gold at the Beijing Olympics. Pic/AFP

On his love for India:
India has been on my wish list for the longest time. I like to travel and really love Indian food. I want to experience the different eras and history of this country. I also want to explore different cultures and learn about cooking Indian food. I plan to come back to India for a vacation and visit Goa, New Delhi, north east part of the country. Before that, I want to go around Mumbai

On picking swimming over cricket which his dad played:
My dad Ken played cricket and I was taught the game too. But I stopped playing cricket when I was in High School as I didn't enjoy it the way my father did. I found it very boring especially when I used to watch him field. I will always pick swimming over cricket as I enjoy it more.

On revealing his homosexuality two years ago:
Personally, it was more difficult for me to reveal being gay to my immediate family and people whom I was close to than the rest of the world. I decided to the step out of the closet when I had the confidence. For me, it was also about accepting myself as a person. I was constantly being asked about being gay when I very young. I considered that something negative, so I continued to lie about it until I finally came out in the open in 2014.

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