Australia's Ian Thorpe waits to compete in the men's 100m freestyle heat at the FINA Swimming World Cup in Tokyo November 12, 2011. [Photo\Agencies]
Ian Thorpe's rushed comeback bid for a third Olympic Games ended in ignominy yesterday as he crashed out of the morning heats of the 100-meter freestyle at the Australian trials in Adelaide.
The five-time Olympic champion, who also failed to secure a spot in the 200 freestyle earlier in the trials, won his heat but finished 21st in the timings behind pace-setter and world champion James Magnussen in his last-chance saloon for London. The 29-year-old's time of 50.35 seconds was his best since returning to competition in November, but was more than two seconds shy of Magnussen's and left him well outside the top 16 that made the semifinals.
On Friday, Thorpe described his failure to qualify in the 200, his best chance for London, as a "fairytale turned nightmare", but was somewhat less dramatic as he contemplated the final nail in the coffin for his Olympic dream.
"This is ... it's tough. It's hard coming to this competition and really, you know, failing in what I set out to do," he told reporters at the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Center. "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."