VDH’s arch rival Thorpe won’t compete at WC
Ian Thorpe will definitely not enter the World Championships in Montreal this year. His coach Tracey Menzies confirmed this today in Sydney. The Australian rival of Pieter van den Hoogenband decided to take a sabbatical in his preparation for the Olympics of 2008 in Beijing.
Thorpe had announced earlier that he wasn't sure he would compete at the WC. "In 2005, Ian will not compete for any world title. It will be hard for the Australian team, but Ian needs this for his preparation for the Olympics in Beijing", Menzies explained.
After Athens Thorpe mainly focussed on promotional activities and he hardly trained at all. Just like Dutch Olympic Champion Inge de Bruijn, he attended Aleksandr Popov's farewell party in Sankt Moritz, Switzerland, last month. According to Menzies it won’t be easy for Thorpe to get back into shape after his sabbatical, but she stays optimistic. "It will be tough, but I wouldn’t have agreed if I had thought he wouldn’t be capable of that. A break would be just what he needs to grow as an individual."
Thorpe is a world record holder with eleven gold medals. At the last WC in Barcelona in 2003, the Australian defeated Van den Hoogenband at the 200m freestyle event. At the Olympics in Athens last summer, Thorpe won two gold medals.