Thorpe tells his story straight

This Is Me: The Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books - Gary Smith

By Ian Thorpe Simon & Schus­ter, 323pp, $45 (HB)

IN the lex­i­con of sport­ing nick­names, Thor­pedo is a bril­liantly evoca­tive de­scrip­tion of Aus­tralian swim­ming’s golden boy, Ian Thorpe, who turned the sport on its axis as a 17-year-old at the Syd­ney Olympics when he won three gold medals.

It was a tabloid-head­line moniker that fit­ted per­fectly and stuck.

Thorpe’s bi­og­ra­phy, This Is Me, has made head­lines, too, but mainly for its per­sonal, rather than sport­ing, rev­e­la­tions: here the cham­pion swim­mer is stripped back to show how fame at such a young age — he was 14 when first named in the Aus­tralian team — brought its own bur­dens, and how well­doc­u­mented me­dia slights on his per­sonal life af­fected him.

Thorpe’s in­dig­na­tion in this book is aimed at the me­dia, with some jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, though this raises the prickly is­sue of a sport­ing su­per­star’s right to pri­vacy while milk­ing all the trap­pings of the high life via en­dorse­ments. It’s an is­sue most pro­nounced in swim­ming, a sport that most of us only truly care about ev­ery four years. Thorpe clearly hasn’t quite worked it out, even now.

This Is Me, writ­ten with jour­nal­ist Robert Wain­wright, un­veils a man who seemed to have the world at his size-17 feet but was clouded by self-doubt.

True, the me­dia has prac­ti­cally baited him into say­ing more about his sex­u­al­ity, and his gripes about that are un­der­stand­able. Thorpe has never felt the need to broad­cast de­tails of

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.