Thorpe at peace with himself after failed comeback

Thorpe at peace with himself after failed comeback

Published Jul. 26, 2012 2:35 p.m. ET

Ian Thorpe has come to grips with his failure to qualify for the Olympics in a comeback from retirement.

The Australian great known as the Thorpedo is still at the games working for British TV and representing his sponsor, and had a candid take Thursday on his performance at the Australian trials four months ago.

''Frankly, I didn't perform well enough to make the team,'' said Thorpe, who dived back into the pool early last year after more than four years of retirement. ''I knew that I was under such a time constraint in getting back to where I needed to be.''

He added: ''I missed out because people were swimming faster than me.''


Thorpe said he is taking time off from training during the London Games but plans to keep swimming. He said he feels he can regain the form that made him a five-time Olympic champion and is already preparing for his next competition.

''I can kind of feel that there is some more to give,'' Thorpe said at an appearance arranged by Adidas. ''Coming into the sport with a different attitude and finding the joy in the sport again makes a big difference.''

Next year's world championships will be in Barcelona.

Thorpe prepared for the trials last year under Russian coach Gennadi Touretski in Tenero, Switzerland. He said he would spend more time in Australia in the future but will return to Tenero in February.

In the meantime, Thorpe is enjoying his newfound status as a swimming analyst. He couldn't hide his excitement over sprinter James ''The Missile'' Magnussen, who burst onto the scene at last year's worlds in Shanghai by winning the 100-meter freestyle and leading Australia to gold in the 4x100 free relay with an impressive opening leg.

''I cannot wait to actually watch him swim,'' Thorpe said. ''Watching him, I see a new way to swim. It's the most impressive swimmer I've seen over the last decade that's new to the sport. He's exciting to watch.''

At the trials, Magnussen swam 47.10 for the fastest time ever in a textile suit, and he has declared that he is aiming to break Cesar Cielo's world record of 46.91 during the 100 free final Aug. 1.

Thorpe was more tempered in his analysis of Michael Phelps, who replaced him as the world's top swimmer and will swim for the United States at his fourth Olympics.

''When I look at Michael, I look at how he's set himself up for these Olympics,'' Thorpe said. ''He's done very well to limit himself in the events that he's swimming. I think he's become very focused in the way that he can potentially do well here.''

Thorpe said the 200-meter butterfly and the relays are probably Phelps' priority and said Phelps has a great rival in fellow American Ryan Lochte. Thorpe's prediction for Phelps: ''Michael will win a lot of gold medals.''