Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe

UPDATE 01/02 It has emerged this morning that the reports claiming that Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe had been admitted to rehab were false.

The five-time Olympic gold-medallist’s management said in a statement: “Ian was in hospital for an operation on his shoulder and is pleased to let his friends and fans know that he is now out of hospital and on the mend.”


It’s been reported that 31-year-old Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe is seeking treatment at a Sydney hospital for alcohol abuse and depression.

Family members have revealed Thorpe was injured in a fall earlier this week before they sought medical help, and he was admitted to hospital on Wednesday night.

On the surface, it would be easy to wonder what Ian Thorpe could have been depressed about. World famous, Olympic hero, young, rich, preternaturally talented….. but to wonder that is to not understand depression and the way it can strike indiscriminately.

In his autobiography published last year, Thorpe revealed how he often turned to alcohol as a release.

“I used alcohol as a means to rid my head of terrible thoughts, as a way of managing my moods,” he wrote.

“I did it behind closed doors, where many depressed people choose to fight their demons before they realise they can’t do it without help.

When Ian’s book initially came out, he told News Corp:

“Not even my family is aware that I’ve spent a lot of my life battling what I can only describe as a crippling depression.”

Ian Thorpe has won five Olympic gold medals, three silvers and one bronze. He won his last medal at the 2004 games in Athens. In 2012, he attempted to make a comeback but failed to qualify for the London Olympic team.

If you need immediate help, you can contact:

Lifeline – 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78

SANE Australia has fact sheets on mental illness as well as advice on getting treatment. Visit www.sane.org or call 1800 18 SANE (7263).

You can also visit beyondblue: the national depression initiative (1300 22 4636) or the Black Dog Institute, or talk to your local GP or health professional.

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