BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Other Sports  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
Statistics
US Sport
Horse Racing
Snooker
Sailing
Cycling
Skiing
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

  Thursday, 12 September, 2002, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Thorpe splits with coach
Ian Thorpe celebrates another victory
Thorpe won six Commonwealth golds in Manchester
Australian swimming superstar Ian Thorpe has split with long-time coach Doug Frost.

The 19-year-old phenomenon is switching to a relatively unproven coach in Frost's assistant, Tracey Menzies.

Frost has trained Thorpe since he was eight years old, guiding him to 17 world records and a string of major medals.

But the world 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle record holder revealed his passion for the sport has waned of late.


If I broke 10 world records this year I still would have made exactly the same decision
Ian Thorpe

"I wasn't enjoying myself training as much as I should be and as much as I have in the past," Thorpe said.

"I decided I either had to make the change or it was to walk away from the sport. I didn't think I was ready to walk away from the sport."

After considering many possible coaches in a worldwide search, Thorpe opted for Menzies, a 29-year-old art teacher.

Menzies, a former national 200m freestyle finalist who trained under Frost, has no proven international record but was named Australia's rookie coach of 2000.

Thorpe, who has won eight World Championship gold medals, three Olympic golds and 10 Commonwealth titles, is confident she will help him to greater heights.

"I don't need to be motivated, so I didn't need a coach that needs to try to motivate me," he explained.

"At the end of the day I decided that Tracey was the best coach for myself... and who would help me in my pursuit of excellence."

Ian Thorpe hugs coach Doug Frost after setting a 400m freestyle world record in 1999
Thorpe and Frost have shared many triumphs down the years

Tensions between Thorpe and Frost are believed to have heightened at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester when Thorpe said he was disappointed with his 200m freestyle swim, despite producing the third fastest time in history.

But he described their split as amicable and insisted he had no complaints about Frost's coaching.

"There's always tension there," Thorpe admitted. "When you plan for months and years in advance to be able to perform well on one given day there's tension towards that day and there's a lot of expectation placed on both swimmer and coach.

"Doug wasn't the reason I made a change. It was within myself that the change came."

Thorpe, who grabbed a record six golds in Manchester, then won five more at the Pan Pacific Championships in Japan recently.

But after a flood of world records last year, he has managed 'only' one in 2002 - the 400m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games.

"If I broke 10 world records this year I still would have made exactly the same decision," he insisted.

"I've been happy ... with how I've performed. I've made improvements. It wasn't about results for me this year. It was about my level of enjoyment and satisfaction from the sport."


If you see someone walk in and they don't look happy, I question why
Tracey Menzies

Menzies believes she has already identified several ways of making Thorpe swim even faster, including improving his turns.

"When you look at a stroke technique, not any athlete is perfect," she said. "They can always improve."

She believes Thorpe's happiness out of the pool is central to how he performs in it.

"If you see someone walk in and they don't look happy, I question why," Menzies added. "That's probably a motherly instinct."

Thorpe, who heads overseas on Friday while Menzies finds a suitable training pool, admitted he owed Frost a debt of gratitude.

"I've grown up under Doug's wing as an athlete," Thorpe added. "I don't know of any other swimmer and coach that have had such a successful career together.

"I'm very grateful for the period of time that I've spent with Doug but it was a long time."

Frost would not comment on the split on Thursday.

See also:

29 Aug 02 | Other Sports
28 Aug 02 | Other Sports
Links to more Other Sports stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Other Sports stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales