Thorpe qualifies for Athens - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thorpe qualifies for Athens

By Doug Conway, Senior Correspondent 29/03/2004 08:35:00 PM Comments (0)

A nation breathed one of sport's most unexpected sighs of relief when a "relieved" Ian Thorpe qualified for the Athens Olympics.

Australian swimming's number one star won the 200m freestyle at the national Olympic trials to confirm a Games appearance that should never have been in question.

But nothing could be taken for granted after Thorpe's sensational disqualification last Saturday in a heat of his pet event, the 400m.

An air of tension prevailed at the pool where Thorpe won three gold medals at the Sydney Olympics.

But unlike two days earlier there was no false start.

The 21-year-old led all the way, beamed a big smile after touching and shook hands with second-placed Grant Hackett.

Thorpe's time was an impressive 1:45.07s, just over a second outside his own world record, but time was not the issue.

"I swam the race to make sure I got on the team," Thorpe said, "not to swim as fast as I could.

"I was going to be that far in front no-one could catch me."

Asked how he was feeling, he replied: "It's kind of relief and kind of I'm not sure yet."

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