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Thorpe aims high at Athens
July 29, 2004 12:13 IST
Last Updated: July 29, 2004 12:53 IST
Australia's Ian Thorpe ranks as one of the greatest swimmers of all time and he is favourite to make another big splash in Athens.
Thorpe won three gold and two silver medals as a 17-year-old at the Sydney Olympics and is entered in six events in Athens, the 100, 200 and 400 metres freestyle plus three relays.
Thorpe burst on to the world stage in 1998 when he became the youngest male world champion in history with victory in the 400 metres freestyle.
He is unbeaten in his favourite event since then and hasn't lost a 200m race since finishing second to Pieter van den Hoogenband at the Sydney Olympics.
Named the world's best swimmer four times in the past six years, he has won 10 Commonwealth Games titles and 11 world championship gold medals, including a record haul of six from the 2001 worlds in Japan.
He became the first swimmer to win the same event at three world championships when he won his third 400m title in Barcelona last year.
He has broken 13 individual world records in long-course (50m pool) and currently holds the world record for 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle.
Now 21, Thorpe almost missed the chance to defend his 400m crown in Athens when he was disqualified for a false start during the Australian trials.
He was thrown a lifeline when his team mate Craig Stevens stepped aside to let him contest his favourite event.