SPORTS

Ian Thorpe comes to grips with his qualification failure and pledges to continue swimming

07/26/2012 08:32 EDT | Updated 09/25/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - Ian Thorpe has come to grips with his failure to qualify for the Olympics in his comeback from retirement.

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

"Frankly I didn't perform well enough to make the team," said Thorpe, who dove back into the pool early last year after more than four years of retirement. "The indications for me in the lead-up, and looking at when I returned, I knew that I was under such a time constraint in getting back to where I needed to be.

"I missed out because people were swimming faster than me. I would have loved to be racing, but I'm here in a different capacity. I'm taking a couple weeks off training during the games and I'm going to enjoy the games."

Thorpe reiterated that he will continue swimming after the games. He still feels like he can regain the form that made him a five-time Olympic champion.

"I think I can. 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. So that's my intention. I've already started to prepare for the next competition."

Next year's world championships are scheduled in Barcelona.

Thorpe prepared for the trials 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 was unable to hide his excitement over sprinter James "The Missile" Magnussen, who burst onto the scene at last year's worlds in Shanghai. Magnussen at the time won the 100-meter freestyle and led 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 trials, Magnussen swam 47.10 for the fastest time ever in a textile suit, and he has declared that he's aiming to break Cesar Cielo's world record of 46.91 next week during Wednesday night's 100 free final.

Thorpe was more tempered in his analysis of Michael Phelps, the athlete who replaced him as the world's top swimmer.

"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.

"I think the 200 fly is his priority, and obviously the swims he will probably have in the relays," Thorpe added. "Michael will win a lot of gold medals. He's also got a great rival in (Ryan) Lochte, so it's going to be a little bit of a clash in some ways between the Americans."

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