Apr 10, 2014

    No truth to talk that Thorpe may lose arm


    AUSTRALIAN swimming great Ian Thorpe is in "good spirits" in a Sydney hospital as he fights a serious infection, and reports that he might lose the use of one of his arms are "nonsense", his manager said yesterday.

    The 31-year-old, five-time Olympic champion, who retired after the Athens Olympics before making an unsuccessful comeback bid for the 2012 London Games, contracted the infection after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this year.

    "He's fine, he's a battler," James Erskine told Channel 9's Today programme.

    "He's in good spirits, you know, he's got drips in, he's got antibiotics and all that sort of thing, so he's not exactly going to swim in the Commonwealth Games tomorrow."

    Erskine said he was not sure how long Thorpe would remain in hospital, but insisted that Tuesday's reports, which said the infection could leave the swimmer without the use of his left arm, were "poetic licence".

    "You could say what's the worst-case scenario. I mean, people have died from these infections. But that's just people making it up, that's just nonsense," he insisted.

    Erskine did, however, admit that the swimmer, known as the "Thorpedo", would not be resuming his career in the pool.

    "He smashed his shoulder. I don't know exactly what parts of his shoulder he broke, but all I can tell you is I have seen the X-rays and the plates and the pins that are in there - he looks like the bionic man," Erskine told ABC television.

    "He can hardly get out of bed to have a piddle. The answer is no, he's not going back to competitive swimming.

    "He's not going to be in the Commonwealth Games and he's not thinking about returning for the next Olympics."

    As Australia's most decorated swimmer with 11 world championship golds, Thorpe was admitted to hospital this year to treat depression after he was found disoriented in Sydney.

    He won three golds in his Olympic debut at the 2000 Sydney Games and clinched another two in Athens four years later, but announced his retirement in 2006 at the age of 24.

    He returned to the pool in 2011 in a bid to qualify for the London Games, but flopped at national trials the following year.

    He later revealed in his 2012 autobiography, This Is Me, that he battled depression, which had prompted suicidal thoughts and regular alcohol abuse.