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."


Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own