Ian Thorpe's rushed comeback bid for a third Olympic Games ended in ignominy yesterday as he crashed out of the heats of the 100m freestyle at the Australian trials in Adelaide.
The five-times Olympic champion's exit followed his failure in the 200m freestyle earlier in the trials. Stephanie Rice went some way to easing the crowd's disappointment by clinching the 200m individual medley title in the evening session.
Thorpe won his heat but finished 21st in the timings behind pace-setter James Magnussen in his last-chance bid for London. His time of 50.35sec was his best since returning to competition in November but more than two seconds slower than Magnussen, the world champion.
"This is tough," said Thorpe, 29. "It's hard coming to this competition and failing in what I set out to do. I'm disappointed that I really haven't been able to race in a way that's reflective of the work that I've done and how I've trained.
"Compared to how I've raced before, this does look like doom. But I don't regret giving this a go."