VDH: "I will miss competing with Thorpe..."
Pieter van den Hoogenband and Ian Thorpe competed each other in some breathtaking clashes at major tournaments these past years. VDH says he will really miss these clashes.
"It will be weird not to compete with him any more", the Dutch Olympic Champion commented on his rival's retirement. As VDH also had to fight his way back to the top after his hernia operation last year, he understands Ian's decision.
"I understand it's hard to find the right motivation when things aren't going your way for a while. I've been through that myself”.
New clashes with Thorpe were a great motivating factor for VDH to work even harder at this comeback. "I looked forward to competing with him again. It will be really weird not having that 'big black fish' swimming in the lane next to mine", VDH referred to his rival's black swimming suit.
"Because of Thorpe I always had to push my own limits. I really wanted to compete with him next year at the World Championships in Melbourne. But let's not be too dramatic about this. He's healthy and alive. It's just a shame he won't be around any more."