How Could Swimming Superstar Ian Thorpe Retire at 24?

One of the most celebrated swimmers in the history of the sport, Ian Thorpe nicknamed Thorpedo, retires at the age of 24. But why? He has a few more years ahead of him and could add more to his current five Olympic Gold Medal and 11 World Title accomplishments. Ian contends that breaking world records was no longer as inspiring as it should have been which I view is a case of diminishing returns. Below is Ian’s comments from Foxsports.

It’s been a tough decision to make. I had to pick a time, that was the time. None of my goals included breaking any more world records. I knew how to do it, but it wasn’t as inspiring as it should have been.
I was catapulted into the international limelight as a kid.
I’ve reached all the dizzying heights of this sport. I’ve also had a tremendous amount of success. I’ve also had setbacks — the last round of them sent me to LA where I could focus on what I was doing with fewer distractions than I have here.
It’s a very dark question for me. Swimming has been a security blanket. But, I haven’t balanced out my life. I realized I had to prioritize other things and had to let swimming take a back seat – I’m looking at the next phase.
I never rule anything out, but it’s not going to happen.

He sounded tired and he definitely misses his childhood years where most people are going through the normal stages while he is spending most of his time on the pool. Ian got burnt out because of the level of competition and success early on and wasn’t able to balance his time necessary to continue a fast pace as his. I have written about the 7 Hour Rule of Project Management which gives you balance and fight off diminishing returns. Staying on top at the highest level of competition requires majority of your time but it still important that you find ways to relax and work on other stuff.
While I do not believe much in a balanced lifestyle especially when you are trying to achieve greatness; it is very important in the development of a person more than I care to admit.
[tags]Ian Thorpe[/tags]

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