Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe says he will not try to swim at 2016 Rio Olympics

Leave a comment

Ian Thorpe‘s Olympic career is over.

The nine-time Olympic medalist over 2000 and 2004 told the Telegraph in Australia he will continue swimming but won’t go after a third Games three years from now due to a shoulder injury.

“I don’t want to be the old man who can’t do things — to push out something that may not be realistic any more,” Thorpe said. “Although I am going to continue swimming, realistically I don’t think I will be able to get back to a position where I am at the top of the sport.”

Thorpe, 30, will still train “purely for the love of swimming,” according to the Telegraph.

“I kept on not being able to get through (training sessions), and then I decided I am just going to push through it, basically I have moved the positioning of my scapula that’s caused a tremendous amount of tension on the front of my shoulder,” Thorpe told the newspaper. “When I did it, I was advised, you have two options, one is surgery and the second is you have to rest. I have had surgery once before. It was just after I stopped swimming the first time, it took me around two years to recover and I have decided I am not having surgery again.”

Thorpe won three gold medals and two silvers at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and became the world’s greatest all-around swimmer before Michael Phelps matured between the Sydney and Athens Games.

In Athens, Thorpe won two golds, one silver and one bronze. He’s matched with fellow swimmer Leisel Jones as the most decorated Australian Olympian of all time.

Thorpe retired between the Athens and Beijing Olympics but announced a comeback in 2011 with an eye on the 2012 Olympics. Thorpe failed to make the Australian Olympic team for London but continued on.

“I am grateful I was able to return to my sport,” he told the Telegraph. “If not I would have spent my life wondering and probably not liking my sport so much. But in return I have been able to discover the beauty of what I do, but also how I feel when I swim. When I get it right, it’s like nothing on the planet.”

Swimming world championships broadcast schedule

Russian Olympic medalists gifts include racehorse

Abdulrashid Sadulaev
AP
Leave a comment

MOSCOW (AP) — Luxury cars, apartments, even a racehorse — being an Olympic medalist in Russia can come with great material rewards but also controversy.

Under President Vladimir Putin, it’s become a tradition for Russia’s Olympic heroes to be showered with large cash sums and sometimes unwanted gifts.

On Friday, less than 24 hours after dozens of medalists were presented with BMW cars at the Kremlin by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, an advertisement appeared online offering one of them for sale, with photographs showing the car still covered in stickers celebrating Russia’s medal haul in Rio.

The advertisement offering the BMW X6 for 4.67 million rubles ($72,000) was anonymous and quickly withdrawn. It couldn’t be independently verified by The Associated Press, though Russian agency R-Sport claimed the seller was a Russian medalist who thought the car was too big and unwieldy.

Figure skater Maxim Trankov, who received a Mercedes-Benz SUV for his gold medal in 2014, said few Olympians could afford to own such cars.

“Has no one thought that these gift cars are not only liable for the tax on luxury items, but also aren’t cheap to run and earnings can’t cover it?” he wrote on Twitter. “I’d sell mine too if it came to it … Or does everyone think all sports pay as well as soccer, hockey or tennis?”

Gymnast Seda Tutkhalyan said she wouldn’t be able to drive her new BMW because at 17 years of age she was too young to have a license.

While online commenters mostly supported an athlete’s right to sell expensive Olympic gifts, many were critical of the government for a display of conspicuous consumption at the Kremlin at a time when Russia’s pension and healthcare systems are under financial strain.

It’s not fully clear how much the prizes have cost the Russian government.

State TV channel Rossiya 24 reported that the fleet of BMWs was provided by the Olympians’ Support Fund, which is backed by a group of Russia’s richest men, but that the accompanying cash prizes of tens of thousands of dollars per medalist came in part from the federal budget.

More awards are on offer from regional governments, many of which made public displays of generosity despite financial troubles of their own.

The Caucasus region of North Ossetia last month promised a free apartment for any medalists from the area, though it isn’t clear if this has happened yet.

In another grand gesture, the head of the restive Dagestan region gave Olympic wrestling champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev 6 million rubles ($93,000) in cash and a racehorse at a lavish welcoming ceremony featured on local TV.

Still, all may not be well for Sadulaev, who’s nicknamed the “Russian Tank” for his habit of crushing opponents on the wrestling mat. He’s already facing an allegation from a Moscow radio presenter of reckless driving in his eye-catching BMW.

MORE: Putin slams Russia’s Paralympic ban

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic venue progress video

Leave a comment

The next Olympics, the Pyeongchang Winter Games, are in 530 days.

Organizers of the first Winter Olympics in South Korea published a time-lapse video of venue construction on Thursday.

The video shows updates for the main coastal Olympic Park, including short- and long-track speed skating, figure skating and hockey arenas, the sliding center in the mountains and the Olympic Plaza, which will house the Olympic Stadium for Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

As NBC News reported, one concern is a potential lack of natural snow, which 2010 and 2014 Winter Games organizers had to deal with as well. Man-made snow is always a safety-net option.

MORE: Pyeongchang 2018 mascots unveiled