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Ian Thorpe to work with Russian coach Gennadi Touretski

Ian Thorpe wins gold in Sydney in 2000
Does Thorpe still have the skills to get back on the Olympic podium?

Ian Thorpe has revealed he will work with coach Gennadi Touretski as he bids to compete at the 2012 Olympics.

The five-time Olympic swimming champion announced his return in February, ending over four years of retirement.

"I'm looking forward to working with Gennadi and have been hopeful for some time now that we would be able to get together," said the 28-year Australian.

Thorpe will train under the Russia-born Touretski in Switzerland ahead of the Olympic trials in March 2012.

Despite initially denying several reports of a return to international swimming, the 'Thorpedo', winner of three golds at the 2000 Sydney Games and two more titles in Athens four years later, confirmed his comeback on 2 February.

He revealed his decision came after visiting the Olympic swimming venue in London at the end of last year, describing it as "extraordinary".

Having returned to the pool last October, Thorpe has been helped by Swimming Australia head coach Leigh Nugent.

But with 16 months to go before the London Games, he has now opted to work with Touretski in Tenero, Switzerland for the majority of the year, while also travelling to Abu Dhabi and Australia for specific blocks of training.

Ian Thorpe

Thorpe announces swimming comeback

"I know this means I'll be travelling a lot but I believe that working with Gennadi is the best fit for me," added Thorpe, who won 11 world titles and 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals, six of which he won in Manchester in 2002, and has set 13 long-course records.

"I know when he worked with Alexander Popov and Michael Klim he worked closely with them to suit their individual needs and physiology, and he's also a real student of the sport."

Thorpe, who cannot compete until 2 November when he will have been on the international drug-testing register for nine months, also described his new coach as someone who was "always thinking and is innovative with his training techniques looking for improvements".

Touretski was based at the Australian Institute of Sport for 10 years from 1992 where he coached Popov, the 100m and 200m freestyle champion at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, and Australian double Olympic gold medallist Klim.

The 61-year-old Russian has coached swimmers to more than 40 world records throughout his career and is currently head coach at the National Training Centre in Switzerland.

Olympic Games: 5 Golds, 3 Silvers, 1 Bronze
World Championships: 10 Golds, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Commonwealth Games: 10 Golds, 1 Silver
World records set: 13

"When I first heard about Ian returning to swimming I was pleased for him and I was also pleased for Australian swimming," said Touretski.

"We all know that he left the sport at a young age, and having seen him over the last couple of days I have no doubt that he still has plenty to offer the sport, and plenty to achieve from a personal perspective."

When Thorpe announced his comeback, he said he would focus on competing in the relays in London but did not rule out entering the individual races, raising the prospect of a showdown with American great Michael Phelps

Thorpe beat Phelps in the 200m freestyle final at the 2004 Athens Olympics but the United States competitor went on to win an unprecedented eight gold medals in Beijing in 2008.

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see also
Thorpe returns for 2012 Games bid
02 Feb 11 |  Swimming
Phelps leads tributes to Thorpe
21 Nov 06 |  Swimming
Star Thorpe announces retirement
21 Nov 06 |  Swimming
Thorpedo uncovered
21 Nov 06 |  Swimming
Swimming & Diving on the BBC
29 Jun 11 |  Swimming
Swimming calendar
17 Oct 00 |  Swimming

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