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Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 02:38 GMT
Huge feet cause flap
Ian Thorpe's feet are the centre of a row
Ian Thorpe's feet are the centre of a row
Does size really matter?

Well it seems it does when it comes to the size of your feet.

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe has been coming in for heavy criticism because of his enormous size 17 feet.

There have been claims that the 17-year-old has taken human growth hormones to make them grow so big.

But his family have rubbished the claims saying big feet run in the family.

German swim team captain Chris Carol Bremer told Melbourne's Sun newspaper that he believed Thorpe's huge feet were the result of taking banned substances.
Thorpe has size 17 feet
Thorpe has size 17 feet

His claim echo's that of another German coach, Manfred Thiesmann, who made similar accusations at the beginning of the year.

However, Thorpe's manager David Flaskas, has denied the claim.

He said: "Ian has totally discarded the accusation.

"The whole thing's quite ludicrous."

Thorpe's father Ken said his son's big feet were hereditary.

Thorpedo

He said: "I've got fairly big feet and I've got fairly big hands.

"You only have to look at his mother and father to understand where he got his build from.

"I know Ian's clean and wouldn't advocate drugs in any way."

Thorpe, nicknamed the Thorpedo, has always had unusually large feet. He was a size 14 when he was just 12-years-old.

The teenager and Olympic gold hope has taken the swimming world by storm.

He won two freestyle golds at the World Championships in 1998; four golds at the Commonwealth games and four golds at the Pan Pacific games in 1999.

Australian sports medicine expert Dr Peter Larkins said oversized feet and hands could be caused by using human growth hormones.

However, more obvious signs were large jaws and foreheads, said Dr Larkins.

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