Review Blog

Dec 04 2012

This is me: The autobiography by Ian Thorpe

cover image

Simon and Schuster, 2012. ISBN 978 1 4711 0122 9.
Highly recommended. This story gives a unique insight into the world of competitive swimming at the very highest level. As the story unfolds we can follow Ian in his return to competitive swimming after his early retirement. We see the incredible amount of hard work and dedication involved in sport at the highest level. Sacrifices are made and the wonder is not why he retired so early, but how he lasted so long.
The chapters follow the time in the lead up to the Olympic trials and the attempt to gain a place in the team. I especially liked the way he describes his relationship with the water and how that can tell him what he needs to do with his stroke and how elite swimmers can become quite territorial about their water.
Interwoven is the story of a remarkable young man who had fame thrust upon him and had to endure an intrusive press whilst going through everything that any teenager has to go through whilst fighting off depression which at that stage had not been diagnosed.
What emerges is a complex young man who has achieved much, his charitable work and empathy with indigenous Australians is just one example. You cannot help but think that he is entitled to be left alone to get on with his swimming and other works and that there is still much to come.
David Rayner

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