Ian Thorpe under treatment, in good spiritsApril 14, 2014

Five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe is receiving treatment for a serious infection.

Thorpe undergone shoulder operations, sustained in a fall at home, at a hospital in Ronco sopra Ascona in Switzerland at the start of the year. Then came the superbugs, strains of bacteria which mutate after coming into contact with an antibiotic. He underwent the same procedure in Sydney a few nights ago.

"He's on an IV drip, he has drains in his shoulder. He's a sick puppy, but at the end of the day he's not critical. He's not in intensive care," James Erskine, his agent, said. "Like all these things, the doctors and nurses in Australia are good and it's bad luck that he got this and he's fighting it like he always has. He will get better quickly, I'm sure," Erskine added.

Despite the seriousness of his illness, Thorpe was in good spirits, receiving many visitors. Erkshine also dismissed reports that the swimming great could lose his left arm.

"That's just conjecture by press. At the end of the day he's got an infection and like all these things, they have to be treated seriously," he said.

This also meant that there won't be another comeback.

"He smashed his shoulder. I don't know exactly what parts of shoulder he broke, but all I can tell you is I have seen the X-rays and the plates and the pins that are in there - he looks like the bionic man," he said.

"He can hardly get out of bed to have a piddle. The answer is no, he's not going to be back to competitive swimming."

Thorpe made his first international appearance at the 1998 World Championship at Perth. He was the youngest male swimmer to become world champion, winning the 400 meter freestyle event aged fifteen years and three months. He was also part of the Australian team that won the gold in the 4 x 200 freestyle relay. The 2000 Summer Olympics was held in Sydney, and expectations were high for the home athletes to deliver. It was Thorpe's hometown, so he didn't disappoint, winning the gold in the 400 meter freestyle, the 4 x 100 freestyle relay, and the 4 x 200 freestyle relay, and silver in the 200 meter freestyle and 4 x 100 meter medley relay.

At the 2001 World Championship in Fukuoka, Japan, Thorpe won six gold medals, a record that only Michael Phelps surpassed. This was followed by five medals at the 2003 Worlds at Barcelona, Spain, three of those gold. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, the swimmer, nicknamed "The Thorpedo", won two golds, but one of those, the 200 meter freestyle, gave him one of his greatest triumphs. Media dubbed it "The Race of the Century", as he was up against Pieter van den Hoogenband, the defending champion in that event, and Phelps. The American was offered US $1 million by Speedo if he could match Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals, which he set at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Thorpe outlassed them all in the final lap.

Thorpe retired before the 2008 Olympics, having achieved everything in the sports. He attempted a comeback before the 2012 Olympics, but didn't qualify at the Olympic trials. His legacy was secured.

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