Australia's greatest-ever swimmer Ian Thorpe has quit, announcing in a press conference his intention to withdraw from professional competition.
In a prepared statement to the packed conference, Thorpe said his battle with sickness and the revelation that there was more to life than swimming had led to his decision.
Swimming champion Ian Thorpe has retired from competitive swimming.
"I am going to discontinue my professional swimming career," he told reporters at a news conference in Sydney.
"I've been sick, I've had injuries, all those things I've had to work through". ADVERTISEMENT
Thorpe said he was moving on to the "next phase" in his life. He is 24.
"I've reached all the dizzying heights of this sport," he said.
The swimmer said he wanted to clarify all the rumours circulated around his future.
He said the relevance of what swimming meant to him now was different to what it was 10 years ago.
"Swimming's provided a safety blanket for me," he said.
"I haven't balanced out my life as well as I could have," he said.
"It's emotional because I see my entire swimming career flashing before my eyes," he said.
"It isn't the best time for me to be retiring from this sport, but it's my time."
The 24-year-old has not taken part in a major competition since the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Thorpe has been struggling to regain his fitness after a bout of glandular fever forced him to back out of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne earlier this year.
Weeks later, he broke his hand in an accident at home, and the Olympic gold-medallist has reportedly been struggling with his motivation in the months since.