Ian Thorpe in hospital
Troubled Olympic great Ian Thorpe is detained by police, then taken to hospital after he was found in a street near his parents home in Sydney's south.PT1M12S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-31x5q 620 349 February 3, 2014
Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe has been admitted to a rehabilitation clinic as he battles with depression.
His admittance into a clinic came after a disoriented Thorpe was taken to hospital by police in the early hours of Monday morning, after police were called to a south-west Sydney street by concerned residents.
Thorpe’s manager, James Erskine, confirmed to Fairfax Media that Thorpe had been taken from Bankstown Hospital to a rehabilitation clinic.
Former swimmer and media personality Ian Thorpe. Photo: Neale Haynes
Tabloid reports surfaced last week claiming that Thorpe was struggling with depression and alcohol abuse and had been admitted into a rehabilitation clinic.
These were rejected by his management, saying he was actually in hospital for a shoulder operation.
The 31-year-old was injured in a fall earlier in the week, and was admitted to hospital on Wednesday.
In clinic: Ian Thorpe. Photo: Getty Images
Mr Erskine said last week’s media reports “hadn’t helped” Thorpe.
“He had taken antidepressants and painkillers because of his shoulder,” Mr Erskine said of the incident on Monday. “He had not been drinking. There was no alcohol involved. He was disorientated and tried to get into what he thought was a friend’s car.
“There is no doubt about it, the false reports did upset him. I’m not saying it sent him in a downward spiral but it did upset him. He didn’t go to rehab. That’s the truth. Everyone has to give him some space.
“I spoke to his mum [Margaret] and he is in rehab,” Mr Erskine said. “Like all mums, she is very concerned about him.
‘‘He has mentioned in his autobiography that he suffers from depression and it is an awful thing to have. ‘‘He has got to get better and he is going to need outside help. He has got to confront the problems and get better.”
Police said emergency services were called to a Panania street at about 3am ‘‘after concerns were raised for a man seen near a vehicle’’ just streets from the Thorpe family’s home, where the freestyle champion has been living since returning to Australia from his training base in Switzerland.
It is understood that Thorpe was with a friend at the time.
Police from Bankstown spoke to Thorpe at the scene and took him to hospital for treatment.
‘‘No official complaint has been made and no further police action is anticipated,’’ police said.
In his book released last year, Thorpe wrote about how he had at times considered suicide and confessed to drinking huge quantities of alcohol to deal with his crippling depression.
After an ill-fated attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, Thorpe wanted to continue swimming. He had hoped to gain selection in Australia’s Commonwealth Games team to compete in Scotland this year but a shoulder injury ruined his chances.
He had been training as recently as August before conceding his professional swimming career was over.
Australia’s most decorated Olympian, with five gold medals, Thorpe had been living in Switzerland for 18 months but returned to Sydney to spend Christmas at his parents’ home.
“There wouldn’t be an Australian who is living today who hasn’t got the pride and joy of seeing Ian Thorpe swimming and winning gold medals, and who wouldn’t wish him well,” Mr Erskine said. “He’ll get through this.
“I’m sure he will get through it. He is going to need help and expert help and everyone pulling for him. His mum said to me that he was always the perfect schoolboy. He has huge expectations on himself. I think the fact that everyone is pulling for him that would make it a lot easier. He has never been a person who wants to disappoint anybody.”
Thorpe had yet to decide on a post-swimming career but had made a very successful foray into commentary with the BBC at the London Olympics.
“He made the decision [last year] that he would give up competitive swimming,” Mr Erskine said. “There is plenty of things to do in life after swimming. He loves cooking, travel, and is a natural for television.
‘‘[He needs to find something that will] give him the same type of satisfaction [as swimming].”