Olympian Ian Thorpe Released from Hospital After Serious Infection

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2014

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 13:  Ian Thorpe arrives at Crown's IMG Tennis Player's Party at Crown Towers on January 13, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Update from Wednesday, April 30

Ian Thorpe, five-time Olympic champion in the pool, has taken a significant step toward recovery from a serious infection that required intensive care.

Reuters reported via the Guardian on Wednesday:

Five-times Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe has been released from a Sydney hospital after successfully battling a serious infection, his manager said on Wednesday.


He contracted the infection after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this year and initial reports had him in intensive care battling to save the use of his left arm.

His manager James Erskine dismissed those reports and on Wednesday said the 31-year-old had been released. "It looks as though the infections have cleared up. It can always re-infect as it's done twice before but we are hopeful," he told Australian Associated Press.


Original Text

Australian Olympic swimming legend Ian Thorpe is in intensive care in Sydney receiving treatment for a serious infection.

Network Seven (via The Guardian) first broke the news:

Network Seven reported this evening that the 31-year-old five-time Olympic gold medallist contracted the bug after surgery at a hospital near his home in the Swiss town of Ronco sopra Ascona.

He is now under intensive care in Sydney, and Seven said Thorpe's close associates fear he could lose the use of his left arm.

However, Thorpe's agent, James Erskine, contradicted major details of the report, telling ABC (via The Guardian) the swimmer is not in intensive care but is undergoing treatment with large doses of antibiotics.

SBS.com.au's staff provided a statement from Esrkine to the Australian Associated Press:

It's serious but it's not life-threatening. He's contracted two forms of bugs in hospital. He's undergone two or three operations over the last two months so ... I mean bad luck. He's quite sick but that's the situation. [...]

From a competitive point of view - he will not be swimming competitively again I don't think. The shoulder operation was a major operation, he's got as many plates as Barry Sheene (the now deceased world champion motorcycle rider).

Erskine was later quoted by Reuters, per Eurosport, saying:

He's in good spirits, you know, he's got drips in, he's got antibiotics and all that sort of thing so he's not exactly going to swim in the Commonwealth Games tomorrow.

As of yesterday he's not in intensive care. He's a sick boy, he's not going to get out and have a cup of coffee and go and meet Prince William.

At the end of the day he's fighting it, he's got an infection and like any of these infections you get in hospitals, they have to take it seriously.

In February, Thorpe's father revealed the former Olympian was battling with depression.

He was reported to be seeking help early in 2014 after being found in a disoriented state near his parents' home in Sydney. He had taken a mixture of medication and antidepressants for an injured shoulder, per BBC News.

He entered a rehabilitation programme after being assessed at the city's Bankstown Hospital.

Many have expressed great sympathy and hope of a speedy recovery from the former Olympic great, including Fox Sports' Sam Ashoo and The Australian's Patricia Karvelas:

The "Thorpedo" won three gold medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and a further two at the 2004 Athens Games, as well as picking up three silvers and a bronze at those events.

He attempted to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London but failed in this endeavour at both the 200-meter and 100-meter freestyle disciplines.

However, he became part of the BBC punditry team for the London Games and was well received as an expert voice on the swimming events.