The 'Thorpedo' as he is affectionately known has won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian, and in 2001 he became the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship.
In total, Thorpe has won eleven World Championship golds, the second-highest number of any swimmer. Thorpe was the first person to have been named World Swimmer of the Year four times by Swimming World Magazine, and was the Australian swimmer of the year from 1999 to 2003.
His athletic achievements have made him one of Australia's most popular athletes, with his philanthropy and clean image earning him further recognition as the Young Australian of the Year in 2000.
This remarkable 26-year-old became a World Champion by winning the 400m freestyle at the 1998 World Swimming Championships in Perth. Since then he has dominated the middle-distance freestyle events, collecting the double at both the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships and the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and sweeping ten collective gold medals in 2002 at the Pan Pacifics in Yokohama and the Manchester Commonwealth Games. Most recently, at the World Championships in Barcelona, Ian won gold in both the 200m freestyle and the 4x200m relay. He has written his name into the record books, where it stands beside the 200m and 400m world records.
Winner of three Gold medals at the Sydney 2000 Olympics in the 400m freestyle as well as in the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays, this unassuming young man is also a leader in the fight against drugs in sport and was named 2000 Young Australian of the Year.
Ian, who at 14 was the fastest swimmer in history, has now won 16 National titles and has broken 13 long course world records and is testament to the power of determination and dedication.
After the 2004 Athens Olympics, Thorpe took a year away from swimming, scheduling a return for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. However, he was forced to withdraw due to illness and in November 2006 announced his retirement.
Ian Thorpe travels from New South Wales Australia
- Aspiring to Achieve
- The Future for Young Australians