Ian Thorpe warms up for his 200 metres freestyle heat in Melbourne (Click for larger image.)

Amazing career ... Ian Thorpe | Getty Images

Ian Thorpe - Career at a glance

Born: October 13, 1982, Sydney

1988 - Took up swimming at the age of five.

1996 - First came to the Australian public's attention when he won five titles at the National Age Championships.

1997 - Became the youngest male swimmer to make an Australian senior team when he was selected for the Pan Pacific Championships in Japan, aged 14 years and five months.

1998 - Became the youngest men's world champion in swimming history when he won the 400 metres freestyle final at the world championships in Perth, aged 15. Won a second gold medal as a member of the Australian 4x200m freestyle relay.

1998 - Collected four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur as well as claiming his first world record as a member of the 4x200m relay.

1998 - Set his first individual world record in 400m at the Australian short-course (25m pool) championships.

1999 - Won his first world title with a world record in the 200m freestyle at the world short-course championships in Hong Kong.

1999 - Grabbed his first individual long-course (50m) world record when he broke Kieren Perkins's five-year-old 400m mark by almost two seconds at the Pan Pacs in Sydney. Also broke Grant Hackett's 200m world record at the same meet then lowered it even further the following day. Made it four world records in four days when he helped the Australian 4x200m relay break their own mark.

2000 - Broke his 400m world record on the opening day of the Australian Olympic Trials, then broke the 200m on each of the next two days to qualify for his first Olympics.

2000 - Won three gold and two silver medals at the Sydney Olympics, aged 17. Broke his 400m world record on the first night of competition then won a second gold medal 80 minutes later when he anchored the 4x100m relay to a last-stroke win over the United States, also in world record time. Won a third gold in the 4x200m as well as silvers in the 200m, behind Pieter van den Hoogenband, and the medley relay.

2001 - Added the 800m freestyle world record at the Australian championships, as well as breaking his 200m mark and winning the 100m and 400m titles.

2001 - Won a record six gold medals at the world championships in Fukuoka, Japan, breaking his own world records in 200m, 400m and 800m and the 4x200m relay. His 200m record of one minute 44.06 seconds still stands today.

2002 - Won six gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and lowered his 400m world record to 3:40.08, which also still stands today.

2003 - Became the first swimmer to win the same event at three world championships when he won the 400m at Barcelona. Also won the 200m and the 4x200m to take his career tally of world championship medals to 11 gold, one silver and one bronze.

2004 - Was disqualified from the 400m at the Australian Olympic Trials when he overbalanced on the blocks and fell in the water but was later cleared to swim the event at Athens when his good friend and team mate Craig Stevens, who had qualified in his place, stepped aside. Went on to win the 400m at Athens and the 200m, beating van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps in swimming's "race of the century". Won a silver in the 4x200m relay and a bronze in the 100m to become the first man in 100 years to win medals in 100m, 200m and 400m at the same Olympics. Took his overall Olympic medal collection to five gold, three silver and one bronze.

2005 - Took a year off from swimming, missing the world championships in Montreal.

2006 - Returned to training and qualified for the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne but pulled out after contracting glandular fever. Broke his hand in training and moved to Los Angeles as rumours began to circulate that he was struggling to shake of the effects of the illness and losing motivation. Announced his retirement on November 21.

-Reuters



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