Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe hospitalized, could lose arm

Apr 8, 2014 at 4:47 p.m. ET

Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe is hospitalized with a bad infection that could cost him his arm. The famed Aussie gold medalist may never swim again.

Ian Thorpe
Photo credit: Anwar Hussein/WENN.com

Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe is suffering from a bad infection that could cost him his arm and his swimming career, reports claim.

The Australian athlete contracted a bad infection following shoulder surgery and is in danger of losing use of his arm permanently. As a result, Thorpe could also lose his ability to ever swim in competition again, The Guardian reported. According to Network Seven, Thorpe got the infection at a hospital near his home in Switzerland where he underwent his surgery and is now receiving intensive care at another hospital in Sydney, Australia.

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However, Thorpe's manager, James Erskine, claims that the famed swimmer got the infection in Sydney and is not in intensive care, but rather receiving large doses of antibiotics at an Australian hospital. "It's serious, but it's not life-threatening," Erskine told the press, adding that contrary to what's being reported, Thorpe will not lose his arm.

Prior to his surgery to fix an ongoing shoulder injury, Thorpe was battling depression, his father revealed recently. The five-time gold medal winner was found wandering and disoriented near his parents' home earlier this year after he took a mix of antidepressants and pain medications for his shoulder.

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Thorpe, who was nicknamed The Thorpedo for his incredible swimming speed, sought help and entered rehab shortly after being medically assessed at Bankstown hospital.

The Olympian announced his retirement from swimming in 2006, saying he lacked motivation to continue competing. He had won three gold medals at the 2000 Sydney games and two more in the 2002 games in Athens. Thorpe then returned to the sport in 2011, but failed to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

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While he called his unsuccessful comeback a "nightmare," Thorpe vowed to continue swimming despite his struggles with depression and drinking. The troubled swimming star detailed his ongoing issues in a 2012 autobiography titled This is Me, where he revealed his inner demons to the public.

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