Ian Thorpe says he plans to take part in fewer competitive races in the build-up to the 2008 Olympics to avoid the danger of burning out.
Thorpe has won three successive world titles at 400m freestyle
The 22-year-old has not resumed training since the Athens Games and is undecided about competing at this year's world championships in Montreal.
"I'm not 100% certain what I'll do but want to concentrate more on training this year than competing," he said.
"I'll just do what I feel like doing and work out where I am with training."
If Thorpe opts not to compete in Montreal he will miss the chance to become the first man to win four straight 400m freestyle world titles.
But he is expected to swim at the 2006 Commonwealth
Games and the 2007 World Championships, both in Melbourne, before aiming to add to his five Olympic gold medals in Beijing.
"It's a little bit more important to miss a few events
this year and still be doing it in four years rather than pack a full schedule early on in the preparation for the next Olympics," he said.
"As soon as people get their head around that, that I'm
doing this as part of a four-year plan rather than trying to do things each year, the better it will be."