Now retired swimming star Ian Thorpe is wowing his countrymen again, but this time behind the microphone as a commentator at the Tokyo 2020 games.
Thorpe, 38, is starring in Australia’s Olympic coverage, just as he first did 21-years-ago during the Sydney games.
The Olympian, who was nicknamed Thorpedo as he dominated in the pool, won a total of nine Olympic medals throughout his glittering career.
And now his elite understanding of the sport he graced is again on full display.
Halfway through Katie Ledecky’s 1500m freestyle heat, Thorpe predicted what her finishing time would be, and was within a second of getting it exactly right.
And before emerging Australian superstar Ariarne Titmus announced herself to the world by beating Ledecky in the 200m freestyle final, Thorpe predicted the 20-year-old’s win.
“I think Ariarne has Ledecky covered in this race,” Thorpe told Channel 7 viewers.
“She can transition a lot better into different speeds. So she’ll build up her speed, whereas Katie Ledecky seems to get stuck in one gear.
“She has a consistency that comes with that speed, but she can’t increase it in any way — it doesn’t develop.
“Whereas when you saw Ariarne come over the top of Ledecky in the 400m freestyle final, she was gradually increasing that speed and there was a 0.4 second difference in their last 50m.”
And in the 400m battle between the two swimmers, Thorpe focused of the speed that Titmus turned, and as the race developed the Australian finally took the lead over Ledecky on the final turn.
His talent in the commentary box has not gone unnoticed by his fellow Australians.
They have been taking to social media to laud Thorpe’s insight into the races.
“Watched the replay of Titmus about 10 times this arvo,” tweeted @mottersjames.
“How good is Ian Thorpe in comms? Great insight, and hearing his voice shake as it gets closer and Titmus gets over the top of Ledecky is goosebump inducing. How good is sport?”
And @Stu_McLay tweeted: “Ian Thorpe’s pre, during and post race analysis is simply outstanding. Communicates the technicalities and intricacies of swimming with such clarity and accessibility. Hasn’t missed a thing.”
“Ian Thorpe was 3.5 seconds ahead of the field when he won the 200m gold in Athens. He might be even further ahead of the pack as a swimming commentator,” tweeted Australian Associated Press sports journalist Scott Bailey.
And @pjhelliar wrote: The way (Ian Thorpe) talks about elite swimmers is like he is walking us through the fine wines of the world and I b****y love it!”
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