“When I was a kid swimming was considered a hobby, not a sport, although in Australia it is still widely practiced. I was introduced to swimming at our local pool in Melbourne in my early teens, a little family pool with free membership.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a clear swimming stroke, so I still got my nose in the water and ended up wetting my pants too often.
Swimming was great fun but I never considered myself a swimmer. Yet here I am today, on an Olympic team, Australia’s first, carrying our colors during the poolside pep rally of Summer Olympic Sports, proudly cheering on world champions from Oceania.
The move from Melbourne to Adelaide, in fact, has brought a deep sense of belonging for me. I was born in Melbourne and lived there for much of my life; so even after moving to Adelaide, a 2,000-kilometre plane ride away from my childhood home, that always-close-to-home feeling never left me. I thoroughly miss those parts of my life, and also those days when Melbourne was the center of the swimming world.
I want to convey to the Australians that I am truly blessed to be a swimming champion from their wonderful country, a country that I adore.”
— Ian Thorpe
WATCH: Michael Phelps in a Young Thorpe’s Perspective