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This Is Me By Ian Thorpe

Release date: 20th October, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: 20.00
Our Price: 10.80
You Save: 9.2 (46%)
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If Clare Balding was our Olympic head girl, the ultra-professional, unflustered, well-briefed presenter who stood head and shoulders above anyone else at the BBC as the nation gorged itself on a combination of sport and patriotism, then Ian Thorpe quickly became her equally accomplished sidekick.

Up until the point at which Clare and her guests hung precariously above the Olympic pool each night and created must-watch television, few of us knew much about the Sydney-born Thorpe, other than he must have been very, very good because he won five Olympic golds as well as three silver and one bronze. En route, he established an astonishing twenty two world records.

Not as though the modest Thorpe boasted about any of this. During the Games, he became one of those rare souls - a likeable foreigner Britons immediately take to their collective bosom and declare, "we like this guy; let's have him back."

And here he is, with a startlingly honest autobiography.

Many readers might expect a 'standard' Aussie sporting character to emerge from This Is Me: committed, strong and possessing a fierce will to win, but this would cover only part of Thorpe's extraordinary story. It's incredible to learn that this jaunty, seemingly happy-go-lucky man has, in his own words, suffered 'crippling depression' and even contemplated suicide. During his worst bouts, Thorpe would turn to alcohol, because, he reveals, "it was the only way I could get to sleep."

It's a staggering admission from a man who, at the age of 14, became the youngest male swimmer to represent Australia and went on to become the youngest ever individual male world champion. Thorpe had everything at his feet - a burgeoning career peppered with astonishing records: eleven world championship titles and ten Commonwealth Games gold medals amongst his incredible haul.

Yet the intense pressure almost suffocated him and in 2006, he retired from competitive swimming and life as an elite athlete.

Last year, Thorpe decided to make a hugely publicised comeback. After reading of his ups and downs away from swimming, you could only wish him well - and, of course, he can come back here any time he wants.


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