By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Ian Thorpe: This is Me
By Ian Thorpe & Robert Wainwright (Simon & Schuster, $45.00, hardcover, 323 pages)
While making waves with his new autobiography, it’s also easy to sense the anguish that must have overwhelmed Olympic gold-winning swimmer Ian Thorpe.
He had hopes of making a glorious comeback; instead his expectations, anxieties, eventual disillusionments and the ups-and-downs of his failed bid to make the 2012 Olympic team form part of this inside story. Elite sport is brutal and losing had turned his fairytale into a nightmare.
Thorpe’s affiliation with the water and his abiding passion for swimming is obvious as is his desire to remain involved in the sport. He admits he’s now found enjoyment in it again as he trains for more competitive events on the world stage.
Some explosive truths are revealed: depression, suicide, alcohol, the question of his sexuality being insignificant compared to his battle with despair, doping allegations made by German swimming coach Manfred Thiesmann and quitting swimming in 2006 because he needed the break.
He speaks of battling “crippling depression” throughout his life, adding that he had copious amounts of alcohol to battle his mood swings.
Written with Robert Wainwright, the champion swimmer also claims his fight with depression was very surreptitious with his family not being aware of his problems.
Thorpe, 30, has battled his demons, no longer behind closed doors, his impressive pool records and charity work speaks volume, but the long road to success has meant sacrifices.
This is Me is a poignant comeback journey that elaborates on events in his life, the highs and the lows that have helped to shape him. Writing this book has, no doubt, been a cathartic (and maybe a little disquieting) experience for Thorpe.
The disclosure is intense: “It’s taken me a long time to accept that being depressed wasn’t my fault and rising above it is actually a strength of character”.
Edition 406, 22 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.