Ian James Thorpe was born October 13, 1982. He is the youngest sibling in his family. His older sister Christina was three at the time Ian was born. Ianís mother, Margaret, and father, Ken, were both sports lovers. Due to an initial allergy to chlorine, Ian had to try out different sports. Ian played several sports including cricket, rugby and soccer. But it was his sister's love of competitive swimming that kept Ian from giving up. He overcame his initial allergy to chlorine by swimming with his head out of the water, winning his first race and falling in love with the sport using this ungainly technique.
Throughout Ian's relatively short career as a swimmer, he has achieved greatness. Ian has broken 22 world records, collected three gold and two silver medals at his first Olympic Games. Two gold, one silver and one bronze at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004. Ian has also won 11 World Championship titles (the most ever), 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals and nine Pan Pacific titles. At the young age of 21 Ian is already recognized as Australiaís greatest Olympian ever.
Ianís greatest achievements have not only been in the pool. Out of the pool he has handled the fame and adulation with admirable style, not that of a typical 21-year-old; and he has already ensured his legacy will not only be measured by his success in the pool, but in the memories of those who benefit from his generosity and caring. All this at an age when most people are still trying to work out what they'll do with their lives. Ian has used his worldwide profile generated by his success at the Olympic Games to help others. At the end of 2000 he established his own Trust--Ian Thorpe's Foundation for Youth. Ian's goal is to provide children in need with the opportunities to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
|Barunga kids with Ian (Ian Thorpe Foundation for Youth)|
Not only has Ian achieved great things in swimming, provided a way for children in need to get help, he has also changed the way swimming is viewed as a sport. Before, swimming wasnít a very popular sport but all of the media attention Ian has gotten has changed that. More and more people want to swim competitively now. He is also a very good role model for kids. At 21 he isn't just wasting his life away, he is going out there and making his dreams come true. He is a hero.