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Thorpe Denies Comeback Plans

May 3, 2010  - Craig Lord

Ian Thorpe has shot down suggestions that he is about to make a competitive comeback in order to race in the 4x100m freestyle at the London 2010 Olympic Games.

Monday morning headlines Down Under screamed that the Thorpedo was about to rocket back into swim focus.

Not so, replied the man himself: "I have no intention of returning to competitive swimming," reporters were told by Thorpe, who is currently in Dubai for a conference. "My position at the media conference (for my retirement) in 2006 announcing the discontinuation of my competitive swimming career has not changed. At that conference I said when asked about a return, that it was highly unlikely."

Those who reported that Thorpe, 27, may soon be on the comeback trail will doubtless hang on his every word - and "highly unlikely" does not go quite as far as "no intention". Adding to the spice, when the Aussie Telegraph asked Thorpe's manager David Flaskas about the rumours, he not only refused to rule out the return of his client, but is reported to have added:  "Never say never' ... He is in great shape and is still swimming."

The paper reported that after meeting up with the likes of Eamon Sullivan, Thorpey wore his heart on the suit-sleeve he would no longer be able to wear: "...it is understood he told them - 'Let's get the 4x100 in London'.''

An AAP report by Tom Wald points at the source of it all: Thorpe has been busy getting himself back in shape in recent times and weighed up doing some warm-up sessions in Sydney with Grant Stoelwinder's squad earlier in the year at the eponymous Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre.

Stoelwinder, coach to Aussie comeback king Geoff Huegill, 31, has tried to get the great freestyler back in on a serious keel. "I have had conversations with him about coming down and having a swim," Stoelwinder told AAP. "A chance to do a bit of a warm-up with the guys for his fitness but it never eventuated. He sort of asked `What time is your training? I might pop down and do a warm-up with the boys' but not anything serious."

Those events appear to be the reason why Thorpe ended up as a comeback headline today. Thorpey would be one of the most welcome of figures on the deck in London 2010 ... but Australia may be better to pin its hopes on what Bill Sweetenham suggested during his days as Britain performance head: "If I were Don [Talbot], I'd be getting Mr and Mrs Thorpe out on a few candlelit dinners and let romance play its part...". All in the genes...