Swimming officials have been accused of sabotaging Ian Thorpe by allegedly leaking his medical records in an attempted smear campaign against the Olympic legend.
Thorpe was allegedly targeted by international sports federation FINA due to his push for athlete’s rights and bid for a breakaway professional competition.
The 38-year-old’s celebrated career took a turn for the worse in 2007 when private medical records were leaked to French newspaper L’Equipe.
The 38-year-old’s celebrated career took a turn for the worse in 2007 when private medical records were leaked to French newspaper L’Equipe. Pictured after winning gold in the 400m freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Olympics
The documents revealed one of his doping samples had shown elevated levels of testosterone, which was later proven to have occurred naturally
FINA has vehemently denied leaking the confidential records but failed to investigate how the French press managed to get them
The documents revealed one of his doping samples had shown elevated levels of testosterone, which was later proven to have occurred naturally.
He was cleared of any wrongdoing by a panel but the leaked records were taken as a serious breach of strict privacy protocols.
FINA has vehemently denied leaking the confidential records but failed to look into how the French press managed to get them.
Former Swimming Australia bosses told News Corp that a senior FINA official outed Thorpe as the person the sampled belonged to, when his identity was meant to be protected.
FINA also allegedly covertly ordered Thorpe to be tested while he was training in the US, as well as urging Australian officials to charge him.
Four days out from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and four years after he retired, Thorpe started defamation proceedings against the French newspaper and its journalist Damien Ressiot.
In the 15 years since they broke the news, L’Equipe still hasn’t revealed where its reporters got the tip from.
According to News Corp, a high-ranking official from the governing body is behind the leak.
Last year the five-time Olympic champion said he retired from his career at just 24 because he wasn’t able to deal with the enormous amount of pressure
Ian Thorpe (R) celebrates with teammates Michael Klim (2nd R), Chris Fydler, and Ashley Callus (L) after winning gold in the men’s 4X100m freestyle relay event at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in 2000
Confidential documents from September 1, 2006, show that Professor Ken Fitch, who was the chairman of the Australian Sports Drug Medical Advisory Committee, wrote to FINA saying one of their officials ‘breached confidentiality by advising Swimming Australia of the name of an athlete who remained under investigation but has not returned a positive sample’.
‘It was a FINA official. He told [leading Australian sport administrator] Glenn Tasker he knew it was Ian Thorpe and wanted to know what was being done,’ a former senior Swimming Australia official told the publication.
Last year the five-time Olympic champion said he retired from his career at just 24 because he wasn’t able to deal with the enormous amount of pressure.
‘We had a team psychologist but people felt that if we saw him then we had an issue,’ he said in December.
‘When I saw him, he asked why I was doubting my ability and then gave me a pep talk. From there it was up to me.’
Thorpe went on to say that he believed he could have competed in ‘another two Olympics’ at the time, if he didn’t have ‘pressures’.
Thorpe battled crippling depression in his teens and he previously said it had led him to drink during the night in the lead-up to the 2004 Athens Olympics.
After breaking 22 world records and winning an abundance of medals, he retired and went from going training ’30-40 hours a week’ to trying to fill the void and find something he was equally as passionate about.
Thorpe is now the chair of the Australian Institute of Sport’s Athlete Wellbeing Advisory Committee and supports other athletes who are facing similar problems.
After breaking 22 world records and winning an abundance of medals, Thorpe retired at the age of 24
The Olympic legend said that he’s very much ‘happy in his own skin’ after seeking help multiple times throughout his life
The swimmer is also patron of ReachOut, a health organisation that provides support for under 25s with everyday issues and difficult times.
Thorpe has previously spoken to Daily Mail Australia about his battle with mental health.
The Olympic legend said that he’s very much ‘happy in his own skin’ after seeking help multiple times throughout his life.
‘For a number of years, I thought doctors were lying to me when they said it is something that is manageable,’ he said.
‘I only ever aspired to be content in what I was doing, and then there was a point where I realised – you know what, I’m actually happy.
‘I can still experience the emotions and the elation that I’m so happy in my own skin.’