Topend Sports

Hero Profile: Ian Thorpe

Here is a profile of swimmer Ian Thorpe, with comments and my rating on the five characteristics which define a sporting hero. You can also give your rating for Ian Thorpe using the same criteria.


The Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe was one of the greatest swimmers the world has ever seen. His record speaks for itself. In his career spanning over 10 years he won five Olympic gold medals, 11 world titles and set 13 long-course records and 23 overall. In 2001 he became the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship.


Unusually for an elite athlete, Ian generally had a quiet and mild-mannered demeanor. In the rare times that he did not win, he appeared grateful in defeat. He appeared to handle the fame and adulation with admirable style. After he was controversially disqualified for false starting at the 2004 Olympic swimming trials there was not a great amount of complaints from him. He had accepted his own error. Thankfully for the swimming world we was later given a place in Athens when third placed Craig Stevens generously pulled out, and he went on to win the gold medal.

family Ian is currently single, and has not publicly appeared with a girlfriend. This, combined with his interest in fashion, has fueled rumors about his sexuality. He has a great relationship with his parents, who were often seen at he poolside watching and supporting him. 3.5
charity work

When he received a bonus of $25,000 for setting the first world record in the Sydney Olympic pool in 1999, he donated the money to children's cancer research and a youth crisis program, in honor of a childhood friend who had suffered non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The following year he established his own Trust, the Ian Thorpe's Foundation for Youth. The charity raises funds for research into childhood illnesses and sponsors a school in Beijing for orphaned children with disabilities. It also works with The Fred Hollows Foundation to improve health standards and living conditions in Australian aboriginal communities.

popular culture Although swimming is not a mainstream sport, it has a lot of followers and participants in many countries. His success in Australia made him one of Australia's most popular athletes, and well known throughout the world. Ian Thorpe has crossed over the mainstream interest with his dominance in the pool from a young age. In 1998, his win in the 400 m at the World Championship in Perth made him the youngest ever world champion at 15 years. He was well marketed, appearing in ads for TAG watches, Armani and also his own line of jewelry and underwear. He retired in 2006, and though he still appears occasionally in the media through several business interests and charity work. 3
hero rating Although he has retired from swimming, Ian Thorpe is still be a hero to many people. 74%

Who else thinks Ian Thorpe is a Hero?

Is Ian Thorpe your hero? Tell me why.

Related Pages

send us a comment Any comments, suggestions, or corrections? Please let us know.

Heroes Extra

Read our discussion about what makes a hero. See our Super Hero list and Heroines, and don't forget our Anti-Heroes.

 → How to Cite