Ian Thorpe OAM
World champion swimmer, philanthropist, media personality
Ian Thorpe’s achievements in the water have been nothing short of phenomenal. Affectionately known as ‘Thorpey’, Ian is Australia’s most decorated Olympian, one of the country’s most prolific sportsmen and one of the best swimmers in history.
He is a multiple world champion, winner of 3 Olympic Gold medals and 2 Silver Medals, 11 World Championship titles, 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals and nine Pan Pacific titles.
Ian’s sporting achievements have given him international celebrity status but, out of the water his success, genuine humility and commitment to helping others have also earned him respect and admiration internationally.
As might be expected of such an extraordinary role model, Ian Thorpe is an excellent motivational speaker. He is truly inspirational, articulate and empathetic and his keynote presentations are packed with anecdotes from his swimming years that both engage audiences and clearly illustrate the personal drive, commitment and focus required to be successful in both sport and business.
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Ian Thorpe started swimming at the age of 8, became the youngest-ever world swimming champion at 15 and since then has broken 22 world records. He won three gold and two silver medals at his first Olympic Games and two gold, one silver and one bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics. In doing so, he became Australia’s greatest ever Olympian.
Ian has also won 11 World Championship titles (the most ever), ten Commonwealth Games gold medals and nine Pan Pacific titles. In Japan in 2001, he won the most gold medals ever at a single World Championships. Four out of the six gold medals were in world record times and he is the only swimmer in history to successfully defend a 400m freestyle world and Olympic title.
Ian enjoyed equal success at the Australian Championships. He won his first national 100m title in 2001 and became the first man since John Konrads, 40 years ago, to win every freestyle event from 100m to 800m at a national championship. Altogether Ian won an astonishing 21 national titles.
Ian has met the former President Clinton and his family, been a guest of designer Giorgio Armani at his show in New York and hosted and appeared on numerous non-sport related TV shows including Charlie’s Angels, Jay Leno and Friends in the US.
He has also been the promotional face of international events and the recipient of dozens of outstanding international awards. The IAAF awarded him the 2001 American International Athlete Trophy as ‘The World’s Most Outstanding Athlete’, in 2002 he was voted by the Foreign Press as the best representative of Australian culture, attitude and ideals, and was awarded the ‘2002 Australian Face Abroad Award’. Ian received the ‘2003 Outstanding Male Athlete’ for the 24th Commonwealth Sports Awards, ‘Sydney’s Greatest Ever Male Sports Star’ and also the ‘Telstra Australian Swimmer of the Year’ for every year from 1999 to 2003.
In 2000 Ian Thorpe became Young Australian of the Year, and in 2001 he received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to sport as a gold medallist at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
In 2000, Ian also created and launched Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for youth, which has allowed him to support children in need, improving health and education outcomes for children, especially Indigenous children in Australia. To date, the foundation has received $3.2 million in Federal Funding 2005 – 2012 and raised over $3.8 million through corporate, philanthropic and public support.
In 2007, the new $40 million Ian Thorpe Aquatic and Fitness Centre in Sydney was named in his honour.
In 2012, in recognition of his charity work with Indigenous children Ian received a Human Rights Medal. The same year, Ian autobiography, This is Me, was published and he received global acclaim for his role on the BBC’s London 2012 Olympic swimming commentary team.
In 2013 the University of Western Sydney presented Ian Thorpe with an honorary Doctor of Letters for his support for health and education services for Indigenous youth and in 2014, Macquarie University also awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters for his contribution to sport and philanthropy.
Ian’s professional approach and ability to deliver under pressure, both in and out of the water, have won him praise and respect from his peers, the public and world leaders alike.
People have been impressed that Ian was so positive, so happy, personable, well spoken and the amount of time he gave. People raved about Ian and walked away after the evening with a great feeling.