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

Ian Thorpe
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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

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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