Get ready for the beginning of a giant love affair. Ian Thorpe made a good, albeit not perfect, start to his bid to make Australia’s 2012 Olympic team bound for London and one can sense a nation ready to jump on the bandwagon.
Thorpe became one of the nation’s greatest athletes at the tender age of 18 when he was the most successful competitor at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, essentially walked away from the sport four years later after another impressive showing at the Athens games.
Apparently The Big Fish isn’t ready to hang up the Speedos just yet as his performance at the Olympic selection trials in Adelaide today means he has put himself in a position he will almost definitely join the squad.
After a number of stunningly average swims heading into the selection trials, Thorpe flew to Perth and trained with a couple of renowned coaches, but put the poor form behind him to swim 1min.49.16sec in the 200m freestyle heat.
29-year-old found himself in front for about three quarters of the swim until Ryan Napoleon was able to sneak past grab the race by .49 of a second. Thorpe finished next, tied with David McKeon, meaning the two qualify in fifth position for the semi-finals.
The semi-finals get underway soon and the top-six finishers in the final will make the team.
Teammate Rob Woodhouse had this to say, from The Australian:
“I reckon he was just cruising. I confess he surprised me. I couldn’t see any changes in his stroke. Obviously he has got to do two more swims even faster and he’ll have to go at least 1min.48sec but I’m really excited by what I saw.”