Swimming Legend Ian Thorpe Battles Depression

March 3, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. disoriented /dɪsˈɔriˌɛntɪd, -ˈoʊr-/ (adj.) – unaware or confused
Example: The disoriented driver got lost.

2. propel /prəˈpɛl/ (v.) – to cause to go forward or be motivated
Example: Ian’s hard work propelled him to be a successful athlete.

3. rehabilitation /ˌrihəˈbɪlɪˌteɪʃən/ (n.) – restoring someone’s good health
Example: His alcoholic father was sent to a clinic for rehabilitation.

4. comeback /ˈkʌmˌbæk/ (n.) – a return to a previously successful situation
Example: Michael Jordan won another three championships in his comeback from retirement.

5. narrow /ˈnæroʊ/ (v.) – to limit something or decrease possibility
Example: The injury of several players narrowed their chances of winning.


Read the text below.
The police recently questioned Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe [EE-uh n-thawrp] after he was found disoriented in Switzerland.

The police said Thorpe allegedly tried to get into someone else’s car in a residence near his parents’ home in Sydney, Australia. The car’s owner initially reported the unidentified man to the police; authorities later found out that the suspect was the 31-year-old famous swimming athlete.

Dubbed as “Thorpedo” [thawr-PEE-doh], Thorpe won numerous gold medals that propelled his way to success. He had many achievements in the Olympics and World Championships and dominated the sport for six years before retiring in November 2006.

However, the joy from his impressive career did not carry over in his life after swimming. Thorpe shared in his autobiography published last year that he has been battling depression for most of his life.

Thorpe’s manager said that the antidepressants and painkillers caused the said car incident. Though no alcohol was found in Thorpe’s system, the police reportedly required the swimmer to undergo rehabilitation for his depression. No further complaints followed as Thorpe explained that he was unaware of his act and thought he went inside his friend’s car.

Instead of undergoing rehabilitation, Thorpe’s manager claimed that the athlete was hospitalized because of an injured shoulder. The manager denied the real reason for Thorpe’s rehabilitation so as not to add more burden to the swimmer’s life. Thorpe’s friends said the athlete struggled to adjust his life after retirement.

Thorpe attempted a comeback in 2012 by joining the London Olympics, but he was unsuccessful. An injury narrowed his chances of competing in the future.

Thorpe currently lives in Switzerland but he has stayed with his parents in Sydney since Christmas.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think Ian Thorpe can still continue his swimming career? Why or why not?
·         How do you think Thorpe can recover from his current situation? Kindly explain.

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some successful people still struggle in their lives?
·         In what ways can someone cope with retirement? Please explain.


March 3, 2014