Ian Thorpe Retires

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    • #12098
      Psimon3
      Member

      for those who haven’t heard, Ian Thorpe announced his retirement today. Kind of disappointing as I would have loved ot have seen another Phelps-Thorpe head to head in the 200 Free in 2008

      http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/swimming/news/story?id=2670011

    • #32122
      Chris Knight
      Member

      It’s sad to see him go. I think every swim fan in the world wanted to see him break 3:40. He’s almost like the Beatles, nobody had ever had to deal with that kind of fame before and it caused their careers to end prematurely.

    • #32123

      Thorpe was huge for his sport, and one of the very best swimmers in history. I can’t fault the guy for burning out, and I guess that is what is really it. He’s been at the top of the world for 9 years, and has 9 of the top 10 times ever in the 200 and 400, as well as the WR’s in those and the 800 free (broken by Hackett), and golds in the Olympics in the 200, 400 (x2), 400 FR, 800 FR, silvers in the 200 and 800 FR, and a bronze in the 100 free. Think about his unprecedented career, and it is too much to imagine. Though he set the world on fire in many many races, the one or two races that rise to the top have to be in the 2004 Olympics…

      He was made to be washed up, and he had to go through the almost crippling pressure of getting his spot in the 400 free being given to him after his false start in the Aussie Trials. I guess it was understandable that he cried at the finish of that race, considering all he had gone through, with people questioning him, not to mention holding off swimmers like Hackett, Keller, Jensen, Rosolino, whomever. That in itself is a race for the ages. He also stepped up and swam a 100 free against vd Hoogenband, Schoemann, Neethling, Dranganja, Iles, etc, and got third. But perhaps the greatest race ever was the 200 free in 2004: it is, as far as I know, the only race in the history of the Olympics in which FOUR world record-holders swam in the same race. Thorpe vs vd Hoogenband, Hackett and Phelps, as well as Keller, Say and whomever else. And Thorpe won.

      Thorpe: the best freestyler of all time, and, arguably the greatest swimmer of all time (Phelps notwithstanding). I say let the man live his life, and let’s just be glad we were able to see this guy. Everyone burns out, and maybe he’ll pull a Dara Torres and come back by 2008 or 2012, as part of a relay. In either case, he should be going well under 1:48 in the 200 free well into his 30’s.

      One last thing: who wouldn’t have loved to see him swim a 200 YARD free against Burnett, Phelps, vd Hoogenband, Keller and Lochte? What would they have gone? 200 yards in Austin or Indy, I bet they could have gone under 1:30.

    • #32124
      neswim
      Member

      @PioneerSwimming wrote:

      Thorpe: the best freestyler of all time, and, arguably the greatest swimmer of all time (Phelps notwithstanding).

      I don’t think he’s the best freestyler of all time. You can even make an argument that he is the second best Australian freestyler to Murray Rose for range and Hackett at distance. Popov was a better sprinter. Even Tim Shaw, who set world records at 200 through 1500 meters showed greater range to dominate across all but the free sprints.

      I will agree that Thorpe, assuming his records stand for a while which is likely, will be judged the greatest MIDDLE distance swimmer.

      The best all around swimmer however is Mark Spitz…based on the gap between him and his competition; his ability to dominate free (sprint, middle distance and distance when he was a kid) and fly (both sprint and middle distance). The only current swimmer with the POTENTIAL to touch him is Phelps and he has quite a ways to go before he “gaps” the field the way that Spitz did. BTW, I do think that Thorpe would be judged “greater” than Phelps based on his ability to “gap” the field in the 200 and 400 when he was in his prime. The field has been catching up to Mr. Phelps in his signature events.

    • #32125
      swim5599
      Member

      I would say that Thorpe is the greatest freestyler of all time. The only reason he was never a dominant 1500 guy is because he rarely swam it. Would he have the Wr in that race it would be tough to say, but he was great at every other distance. Sure Popov covered the 50 faster, but there 100 times were close. So as a whole he is the greatest freestyler in history. WHen has anyone other than him come within 2 seconds of his WR in the 400. Never. Hackett was 3:42.8 I believe and that is still 2.5+ seconds slower

      He handled himself with a ton of class also.

    • #32126
      silentp
      Member

      I would agree with swim5599 and PioneerSwimming that Thorpe is the greatest freestyler. Hackett is an amazing distance swimmer and very good at the other distances, but he doens’t have the verstality to do what Thorpe did and be as dominate in the 200 and 400 as Thorpe was.

      Greatest swimmer ever, I’d say Phelps is already better than Spitz. Spitz did what he did during a time when all swimmers swam every event. There was no breastrokers lane at practice or a sprinters lane, they were all just swimmers. Today, people specialize, at the world level down to a single event for some. Phelps is still beating these people. His gap is narrowing, but it’s still a gap and every time is narrows, he goes back to setting world records. He is also the reason why swimmers today are going times that a few years ago would have been considered just crazy. Remember when sub 2:00 in the IM meant something? Because of Phelps, and everyone wanting to catch him and keep up with him, it no longer means anything because it will get you beat by multiple body lengths.
      Also, something Phelps has going for him is that more of the world is training for swimming and it’s not just a US dominated sport. While the US is still much better than everyone else, we didn’t even medal in the 400 FR at the last Olympics, something that in Spitz’s time would have been unheard of.

    • #32127
      neswim
      Member

      @silentp wrote:

      Greatest swimmer ever, I’d say Phelps is already better than Spitz.
      .

      Look at the numbers of Spitz versus Phelps over a five year period.

      Spitz 1967-1972 25 individual world records

      Phelps 2001-2006 15 individual world records.

      The numbers support Spitz over Phelps to this point in time. You’re other points re diversity vs specialization can be used either for or against Spitz but in any case Mr. Phelps has quite a bit of work to catch up to Number 1.

      Re Thorpe and “greatest” freestyler its also not a clear cut. If he’d hung on for one more Olympics maybe. But Thorpe’s last world record was in 2002. I’d say that Dawn Fraser was the greatest Australian freestyler with 15 world records from 1956-64 and the best swimmer in the world in 1968 who has prohibited by the Aussies from participating in the Olympic Trial .

    • #32128

      @silentp wrote:

      we didn’t even medal in the 400 FR at the last Olympics, something that in Spitz’s time would have been unheard of.

      If I am not mistaken, the US won the bronze!

    • #32129
      The Treat
      Member

      @neswim wrote:

      @silentp wrote:

      Greatest swimmer ever, I’d say Phelps is already better than Spitz.
      .

      Look at the numbers of Spitz versus Phelps over a five year period.

      Spitz 1967-1972 25 individual world records

      Phelps 2001-2006 15 individual world records.

      The numbers support Spitz over Phelps to this point in time. You’re other points re diversity vs specialization can be used either for or against Spitz but in any case Mr. Phelps has quite a bit of work to catch up to Number 1.

      Re Thorpe and “greatest” freestyler its also not a clear cut. If he’d hung on for one more Olympics maybe. But Thorpe’s last world record was in 2002. I’d say that Dawn Fraser was the greatest Australian freestyler with 15 world records from 1956-64 and the best swimmer in the world in 1968 who has prohibited by the Aussies from participating in the Olympic Trial .

      i dont know what you guys are talking about, i thought jim born was the greatest swimmer ever! 😉

    • #32130
      Vic
      Member

      Scott Goldblatt wrote a nice article on his blog, timedfinals.com, about Thorpe’s retirement. He thinks that Thorpe is the greatest swimmer ever because “Thorpe opened our eyes and the door to the dramatic time drops that we have seen over the past 8 years.” He argues that Thorpe really showed that it was possible to have the amazing time drops that we now see on a regular basis.

      I don’t think that he is the top swimmer of all time, but I definitely think he is top 5. When he came onto the scene in the second half of the nineties and started making huge time drops, it was simply amazing. His dominance in the middle distance freestyle was very impressive, but he could swim other strokes too. Few people remember that he placed 2nd in the 200 IM at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona.

      It’s a huge loss for the sport because in addition to being one of the top swimmers in the sport, he was probably the coolest swimmer of the era. He was one of the few swimmers to have a cool nickname, “The Thorpedo,” and was always recognizable in his adidas bodysuit. Even people who only watch swimming during the Olympics remember who he is.

      Even though I am sad to see him go, I understand why he’s hanging it up. The pressure put on him by the people in Australia was huge and must have been very taxing. He did make a lot of money by becoming the best swimmer in the world, but it must have been very difficult at times. When you lose the desire to keep training at the highest levels, it is tough to continue. I will always be a fan of him, and who knows, maybe we’ll see a comeback in at some point.

    • #32131
      swim5599
      Member

      I can not imagine what it must have felt like to have carry the weight of your entire country on your shoulders. And let’s not forget that the pressure started when he 14. God think about what we all were doing at 14. He was a class act and will definately be missed. He had technically one of the greatest freestyles I had ever seen. He was the entire package. Great technique, great work ethic, and a great will to win.

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