Thorpe denies comeback report

Updated: May 3, 2010, 1:47 AM ET
Associated Press

BRISBANE, Australia -- Ian Thorpe has ruled out a comeback to competitive swimming, rejecting Australian media reports Monday that the five-time Olympic gold medalist wanted to qualify for a relay at the 2012 London Games.

"I have no intention of returning to competitive swimming," Thorpe said in a statement released by his management. "My position at the media conference in 2006 announcing the discontinuation of my competitive swimming career has not changed."

The Courier-Mail newspaper reported Monday that the 27-year-old Thorpe had discussions recently with several of Australia's leading sprinters about a potential return for the men's 400-meter freestyle relay in London.

Thorpe won 11 world championship golds and set 13 world records. His wins in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics were achieved in his last major international meet.

Thorpe was the world's highest-profile swimmer until American Michael Phelps came onto the scene, and had a list of lucrative endorsement deals.

But he admitted in February that he'd had financial problems after his personal savings were affected by the global economic crisis.

He said he'd experienced cash-flow problems after shedding sponsorship deals to focus on his university studies in linguistics and psychology, but had restructured his finances.

Thorpe burst onto the international stage as a teenager in 1999 and won three gold medals -- all in world record time -- and two silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

He was in Dubai during the weekend for an international sports convention.

Thorpe's coach Tracey Menzies said the swimmer had not spoken to her about a comeback.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press