Thorpe sets condition for 400m swim - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thorpe sets condition for 400m swim

By Will Swanton 05/04/2004 08:03:11 PM Comments (0)

Ian Thorpe will only accept a place in the 400m freestyle at the Athens Olympics if Craig Stevens withdraws of his own accord.

Thorpe will want to know Stevens' reasons for pulling out.

Stevens, who received a shock Olympic 400m berth after Thorpe's disqualification for a false start at last week's trials, is considering relinquishing his place to concentrate on his pet 1500m event and clear the path for Thorpe to defend his sole individual Olympic crown.

"If he really just doesn't want to swim the event, I will consider it ... but if he's pressured into it or he's forced not to swim it, I won't be swimming the event," Thorpe told the Seven Network.

"I don't think it's going to happen, but it depends on what his reasoning is.

"I've spoken to Craig and he's asked me how I feel about it.

"I really think Craig has worked hard for everything that he's been able to achieve and if he wants to swim that event, I think not only myself but everyone should really get behind him."

Asked what he'd do if he was Stevens, Thorpe replied: "I'd do whatever my heart tells me".

Thorpe claimed he wasn't contemplating "whatsoever" the prospect of being able to replace Stevens.

He also rebutted a report which suggested he might retire after the Athens Games, and rejected criticism of his coach Tracey Menzies, who he started working with in 2002 after splitting from Doug Frost.

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