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The ‘Thorpedo’ Retires From Swimming

November 21, 2006

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe has quit competitive swimming.

Thorpe, 24, held a news conference Tuesday to announce his decision at a downtown Sydney hotel.

Thorpe said he came to the decision at ``2:53 on Saturday afternoon″ not to swim at next year’s world championships in Melbourne and to finish his professional swimming career.

Plagued by illness, injury and a lack of motivation, Thorpe hasn’t competed in a major international event since the Athens Olympics.

Thorpe burst onto the swimming scene as a teenager and swam to 13 world records between 1990-2002, becoming an international star after dominating the pool at the Sydney Olympics.

Thorpe and American Michael Phelps are acknowledged as the world stars of the sport.

The Australian swimmer, nicknamed ``Thorpedo,″ won the 200- and 400-meter freestyle events at the Athens Olympics.

He planned a yearlong break after Athens, claiming ``mental fatigue″ and hoping to stay fresh for major competitions down the road.

He later decided not to compete at last year’s world championships in Montreal, then dropped out of the Commonwealth Games in March due to a bout of glandular fever.

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