Record lure not enough for Klim - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Record lure not enough for Klim

By Laine Clark 27/06/2007 05:54:03 AM Comments (0)

Not even the lure of becoming the first Australian swimmer to contest four Olympics was enough to stop former world champion Michael Klim from announcing his retirement.

Klim, 29, said a phone call to retired great Ian Thorpe helped him wrestle with his emotions after deciding to end a 12-year international career that produced six Olympic medals, seven world championship gold and five Commonwealth Games titles.

The former world record holder admitted making history at Beijing next year was very tempting.

But it would not have sat right with a man who only demanded the very best from himself - despite the heavy toll it took on his injury-plagued body.

"It (Beijing) was such an amazing opportunity, but I wanted to swim for the right reasons," said Klim who leads a blissful domestic life with wife Lindy and daughter Stella in Melbourne.

"I want to go to the Olympics and try to win gold medals and break world records for my country but I don't feel I've got that in me any more.

"I know it sounds a bit arrogant and a lot of people would do anything to go to the Olympics but (compared to) what is important to me now in my life, it didn't really stack up."

Klim said speaking to Thorpe helped him make peace with a life-changing decision he admitted he would have made if he had not made the 2004 Athens Olympic team.

"He had some great suggestions and words of guidance, he has been through that tough period where there are times where you do have some regrets," he said.

"He said something last night, something that hit hard that if he really wanted to he probably could have swum on.

"But it's a matter of knowing that you made the decision. If the heart or the commitment is not quite there then we are not doing it for the right reasons - and I'm pretty much in the same boat as he is.

"I probably could have pushed myself for another year just to qualify and be the only one to go to four Olympics in Australia but I felt like I wouldn't have done it for the right reasons."

Klim's resume is nothing to be sneezed at.

Six medals including two relay gold spanning three Olympics and an impressive haul over four world championships including swimmer of the 1998 meet at Perth with four gold.

He is a former world record holder in the 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle as well as 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relay.

Not to mention his total haul of eight medals over two Commonwealth Games including last year's event at hometown Melbourne.

But it is the way he has overcome his many lowlights that Klim will look back on with more affection.

He missed the majority of 2002-03 with back and shoulder injuries and has been forced to overcome constant niggles ever since.

"It's funny, whenever people ask me to look back at my career it's pretty much the hard times (that I remember)," he said.

"I had such a great run up into `98 with the world championships and being part of some of the great relay teams that we've had and I cherish those memories.

"But to be able to come back from that adversity (caused by injury) and still be successful and still be here in 2007, I find that more rewarding."

However, Klim admits he has no shortage of good times to reflect on.

"Probably being part of the (record breaking 4x100m freestyle) relay team at Sydney, beating the Americans is a moment, but it's hard to go past the world championships in Perth with four gold and seven medals," he said.

"Every stage of my career had different meaning, because qualifying for Athens was very rewarding as well."

Klim said his transition into retirement would be smooth after finding "something that I am passionate about" but wouldn't reveal his next project - yet.

"I don't want to spoil the surprise," he laughed.

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