Swimmer Ian Thorpe admitted to rehab clinic

MICHAEL CARAYANNIS
Last updated 21:49 03/02/2014
Ian Thorpe
Getty Images
REHABBING: Former Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe has entered rehab for treatment for depression and alcohol abuse.

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Former Australian Olympian Ian Thorpe has been admitted to a rehabilitation clinic after police found him disoriented on a Sydney street on Monday morning and took him to hospital.

Thorpe's manager, James Erskine, told Fairfax Media on Monday that Thorpe had been taken to Bankstown Hospital and then to a rehabilitation clinic.

"He had taken anti-depressants and pain killers because of his shoulder," Erskine said of the incident on Monday.

"He had not been drinking. There was no alcohol involved. He was disorientated and tried to get in to what he thought was a friend's car."

The 31-year-old, who has been fighting depression, was injured in a fall last week and was admitted to hospital on Wednesday to undergo an operation on his shoulder.

Police said emergency services were called to a street in Panania about 3am "after concerns were raised for a man seen near a vehicle".

The street is only blocks away from Thorpe's family home, where he has been staying since returning from his training base in Switzerland for Christmas.

It is understood he was with a friend at the time of the incident.

Erskine said he had spoken to Thorpe's mother, Margaret, who had confirmed Thorpe was now in a rehabilitation clinic.

"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."

Only days ago, Thorpe's management had to deny reports the swimmer had been admitted to rehab, saying he had been in hospital for the shoulder operation.

Erskine said the reports "hadn't helped" Thorpe.

"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."

Bankstown police 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 autobiography last year, Thorpe said he had considered suicide and had drunk huge quantities of alcohol to deal with his crippling depression.

After an ill-fated attempt at qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, Thorpe wanted to keep swimming. He had hoped to gain selection in the Commonwealth Games team to compete in Scotland this year but a shoulder injury hurt his chances.

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He was training up until August, before conceding his professional swimming career was over. He was yet to decide what he would do post-swimming but had worked with the BBC commentary team for the London Olympics.

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," 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 from 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."

- Sydney Morning Herald

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