Fri, 13 Jul 2012 09:32:54 GMT | By ANI

Camera shy Ian Thorpe acts in documentary `The Swimmer`

Melbourne: Ian Thorpe, who is uncomfortable looking into the mirror of a television screen, agreed to be the subject of a television documentary.

Camera shy Ian Thorpe acts in documentary `The Swimmer`

'The Swimmer', directed by Gregor Jordan, charts Thorpe's return, after a four-year break, to a swimming career that delivered nine Olympic medals, five of them gold.

"''It's confronting," the Age quoted Thorpe as saying.

"''I sat down to watch it and I was squirming in my chair. Part of me said, ''Do I want to show this?' [But] it's honest and it's the most accurate portrayal because I am just

myself," he said.

Ian Thorpe wanted an honest depiction of his return to swimming.

"''We have to develop a better understanding that people make mistakes.

"I'm stupid, I'm angry at times and when I am in athlete mode, I am incredibly selfish," he said.

Thorpe retired in 2006 after a decade in the sport.

"''I walked away from swimming, [then] hating what I did, but it wasn't swimming, it was everything that came around it.

"''It was all too much. I returned to swimming because I had to do this, I rediscovered the love I had for my sport," he said.

A friend suggested Thorpe document his journey so he collaborated with another friend, filmmaker Gregor Jordan, on what was initially to be a video diary.

"''I thought if I could get to three days I would do three weeks, and if I could get to three weeks I would do three months," he said.

The video diary quickly escalated into a full-blown documentary, following the swimmer as he trained for the Olympic trials in Adelaide in March, intimately capturing a

demanding time.

"It's me reflecting on not swimming well, going through those feelings, [asking myself] have I wasted my time doing this," he said.

Thorpe says it was hard seeing and hearing himself on camera. This is, after all, someone who avoids reading what is said and written about him in the press.

"''Just like everyone who hears their voice and cringes, I did that for an hour, [asking] 'Am I really like that?'"

"I also didn't know my face tells a story. I didn't know that about myself [but] I can almost see my thought process," he said.

It was also painful re-watching his failure in the two races that were key to his dream of competing at the 2012 London Olympics: the 100-metre and 200-metre men's


"''You don't feel all of it as a viewer, but because of the background and how it's set up, you will have a better understanding of how I felt.

"When I watched it, it was not a nice thing to watch, it's really bitter-sweet. It really is.

"It was really quite strange. It''s beautiful but I wish it was someone else," he added.

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