Swimming: Ian Thorpe won't compete again due to infections

Australia's most decorated swimmer Ian Thorpe battling deadly infections in hospital; agent says ailment is not life threatening

Sydney: Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe is in intensive care in a Sydney hospital after contracting two potentially deadly infections following a series of shoulder operations, a report said yesterday.

Ian Thorpe. Pic/Getty Images
Ian Thorpe. Pic/Getty Images

The 31-year-old five-time Olympic gold medallist fell ill after undergoing the surgeries at a hospital near his home in the Swiss town of Ronco Sopra Ascona, said the Australian Associated Press (AAP) news agency.

Serious infection
Some reports also suggested that the Australian swimmer's serious infection following the surgeries leaves him at the risk losing the use of his left arm. Thorpe suffered a fall in January and his shoulder had to be treated as a result.

"It's serious but it's not life-threatening," Thorpe's manager James Erskine told AAP. "He's quite sick but that's the situation."

Erskine however, dismissed reports that the swimmer could lose his arm, but said it was unlikely Thorpe will swim again.

"From a competitive point of view — he will not be swimming competitively again I don't think," he said.

Olympic hero
Thorpe, nicknamed Thorpedo for his prowess in the pool, is Australia's most decorated Olympian with five gold (three at Sydney 2000) and (two at Athens 2004), with his success attributed to his abnormally large feet and hands.

He became the first person to win six gold medals at one world championships, in 2001, among 11 world titles overall — along with 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals.

But the demands of a celeb lifestyle and tough training saw him quit in 2006 before a failed comeback attempt to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

Ian Thorpe's golden moments...

> Five-time Olympic gold medallist
> Thirteen-time World Championships gold medallist
> Ten-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist
> Nine-time Pan Pacific Games gold medallist

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