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Fourth-Place Medal

Ian Thorpe’s defeatist circular logic about his comeback

Chris Chase
Fourth-Place Medal

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Ian Thorpe is returning to the pool next month in hopes of making an Olympic comeback in London. Except, he's not at all confident about his prospects and already is making excuses for his failure. In a rambling interview with The Telegraph, Thorpe laid out his modest expectations for the comeback, then contradicted himself a few times before restating said modest expectations. We've highlighted some of the most defeatist quotes from the interview:

1. "I'm more comfortable knowing that, chances are, I'm going to fail at this. I've become comfortable with that."

That's the spirit!

2. "My goal at the start -- and this will remain my goal through the Olympics -- was to be able to swim faster than I used to. If at any stage I didn't think I could do that, I don't know if I'd continue."

If that was his goal and he has already said he's going to fail at his goal, shouldn't he not continue? It's a maze of reasoning that I don't quite understand. Who exactly is Thorpe lowering expectations for? The public or himself?

[ Related: Ian Thorpe struggles to qualify for Olympic team ]

3. "Medals are good but, for us in swimming, times are better because you have very little control over who wins."

Right, because Michael Phelps totally would have been happy in Milorad Cavic out-touching him in the 100 fly in Beijing because, more important than the gold medal he lost, he'd have had a best time.

4. "Push yourself beyond that and take that attitude of not just trying to win by one tenth of a second when you can win by two seconds. Take it that far. That's athletic accomplishment, not just what you get to wear around your neck."

I thought it doesn't matter whether you win or not?

5. "I don't think anyone's done this before with the timeframe that I have. Realistically, it's probably too short."

Either he fails to live up to the loftiest, unrealistic expectations as predicted or he surpasses them and sets himself up as a conquering hero. In a way, it actually could be a brilliant PR move.

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