Aussie swimmer Ian Thorpe, who has endured crippling depression, multiple shoulder surgeries, and most recently a pair of serious infections, was released from a Sydney hospital on Wednesday, his manager told Australian news sources today.
Thorpe, 31, is a legend in Australia, having exploded onto the international swimming scene as a 14 year old at the 1998 World Championships, where he became the youngest male world champion in the history of the sport winning the 400m freestyle. He would dominate the event over the next 6 years, including every major international meet he attended, including Worlds, Commonwealth and Pan Pac Games, and of course, the Olympics both in 2000 and 2004. His exploits, particularly at the 2000 Sydney Games, are well documented and proudly remembered in Australia.
Thorpe has found difficulty landing squarely on his feet since leaving the sport, making a couple comeback attempts, the most recent of which was dashed as a result of the shoulder injury. He had planned on trying to qualify for the 2014 Commonwealth Games team going to Glasgow later this summer.
Thorpe was treated both outside his home in Switzerland, as well as in Australia after falling and injuring himself in January. The infections – two of them according to his manager – occurred in the wake of these procedures.
“It looks as though the infections have cleared up. It can always re-infect as it’s done twice before but we are hopeful,” his manager James Erskine told the Australian Associated Press.
Despite not being in the pool, he has been making headlines this year for all the wrong reasons within the swimming community and especially Australia, where he is revered, forever and lovingly known as Thorpey or the Thorpedo.
The 31 year old has talked openly about his struggles with depression and substance abuse, even as he was still training in the lead up to the 2004 Athens Games. Things seemed to culminate in a hospital trip earlier this year when he was found disoriented outside of his parents place in Sydney having taken a mixture of antidepressants and medications for the shoulder injury. The next month Thorpe’s father acknowledged that the star swimmer was battling depression, leading him to enter rehab.
Erskine noted that it was “unlikely” that Thorpe would make a return to rehab after having been released from hospital.
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