James Magnussen relishing battles in freestyle races

 

Australia's James Magnussen is relishing the prospect of the battles that lie ahead in the pool at this summer's Olympics - although as far as he is concerned, he is not going to be involved in any “grudge matches” in London.

At what will be his first Games, the 21-year-old is set to fight for gold in the 50m and 100m freestyle races with Brazil's Cesar Cielo, champion over the shorter distance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Cielo is also the world record-holder over both, but Magnussen is the current 100m world champion and earlier this year swam the fastest time in history to be achieved in a textile suit in that event.

It is a spicy-looking rivalry between the pair and Magnussen admits Cielo has been "pretty vocal" on the matter in the build-up to London.

But while he is expecting Cielo's presence to help drive him on at the Games, Magnussen is keen to stress that there is no ill-feeling on his part towards the South American.

"It's good to have someone like Cesar," Magnussen said.

"The way I feel is that the better the field is in London, the bigger the result if I'm able to win it, so I'm really glad to have Cesar there.

"I'm sure he'll be pushing the pace early on in the race, and that is something that I'm able to feed off.

"He is pretty vocal, but I guess having only raced him once at a big meet before, it's not really a rivalry that has come to a head too often.

"It is sort of hard to say what our relationship will be come London, but certainly it is not a grudge match at this point."

Also set to be gunning for a medal in the 100m freestyle is another 21-year-old Australian, James Roberts, who holds the second-fastest textiles time in the event.

Responding to the suggestion that Roberts was his arch-rival, Magnussen - speaking today at the Australian team's pre-Olympic camp in Manchester - said: "I don't know if I would call James that!

"I've been friends with him for a long time and raced with him for a long time. It is sort of hard to get your head around the fact that we are now going to be racing each other for Olympic gold.

"But I think it will be a bonus for both of us to be able to get up there in front of the rest of the world and when the pressure is on, to have someone that you know and are mates with behind the blocks with you.

"Like I said with Cesar, there is certainly no grudge match between James and myself."

An Australian who will not be racing at London 2012 is Ian Thorpe after the five-time Olympic champion failed to qualify.

The great success he has enjoyed over his career has been a great inspiration to Magnussen, who wants to emulate the air of invincibility Thorpe once seemed to carry.

"I grew up as a young kid watching Thorpey and I guess the part of his racing and mentality that I would like to bring to the table is the fact that every time I as a member of the public watched Thorpey race on TV, there was never any doubt in my mind that he was going to win," Magnussen said.

"If people back in Australia could say 'it's James Magnussen's race coming on TV - it's a sure thing', I think that is a pretty special thing.

"It is something Thorpey was able to sustain for a number of years and something I'd like to sustain as well."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral