Australian swimming legend continues to struggle away from the pool.
Australian swimming and Olympic legend Ian Thorpe has been admitted to a rehabilitation facility for treatment for chronic depression and alcohol abuse.
Reports from Australia indicate the five-time Olympic gold medalist suffered an injury in his home before being admitted to hospital.
Broadcaster and close friend Alan Jones said Thorpe was again battling her own personal demons, despite the 31-year-old appearing to be in high spirits over the Christmas and New Year period.
“Yes, it’s serious but there’s not a lot I can or want to add,” Jones said. “Ian is a beautiful person but he has difficulty recognising his problems.”
Thorpe lifted the veil of secrecy he kept over his life since he burst onto the swimming scene as a 16-year-old, in his autobiography which was published last year.
In it he described the trouble he has in the spotlight, saying he used alcohol as a means of coping.
“Not even my family is aware that I’ve spent a lot of my life battling what I can only describe as crippling depression,” he wrote.
“I used alcohol as a means to rid my head of terrible thoughts, as a way of managing my moods,” he wrote.
“I did it behind closed doors, where many depressed people choose to fight their demons before they realise they can’t do it without help.
“There were numerous occasions as I trained to defend my Olympic titles in Athens that I abused myself this way – always alone and in a mist of disgrace. It’s like a weight is pressing down on you. There are days when you just can’t get out of bed. You cannot face the world.
“You tell yourself simple things like: ‘Just get to the kitchen and get a glass of water.’ But not being able to do something so basic is frightening.”
A close friend of Thorpe’s said the accident sparked the latest downfall, and said they only wished the best for the sporting icon.
“He had an accident at home,” the friend said, “He slipped and hurt himself.
“As for the depression, I think his book captured what you’re talking about and what has happened recently. We’re hoping he’s going to be okay and make a full recovery.”
People in Australia seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, others are urged to contact a local support service urgently.