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Ian Thorpe Hospitalized With “Serious” Infection: Olympian May Not Swim Again

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe on March 14, 2012
Australian Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Ian Thorpe, 31, has been hospitalized with a "serious" infection and is unlikely to swim again competitively, his agent says

UPDATE: Thorpe's agent James Erskine tells Us Weekly, "Ian is stable, fighting a serious infection sustained after a second shoulder operation in a Sydney hospital. He is not in intensive care, and his spirits are good."

Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe has been hospitalized with a "serious" infection and is unlikely to swim again in competition, his agent said Tuesday, April 8.

Thorpe — who is Australia's most decorated swimmer, with 11 world championship victories and five Olympic gold medals — contracted the infection after undergoing a series of recent shoulder surgeries, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. His agent, James Erskine, did not specify the exact nature of the infection, but the Herald says it's similar to MRSA.

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"It's serious, but it's not life-threatening," Erskine told the Australian Associated Press. "He's contracted two forms of bugs in the hospital. He's undergone two or three operations over the last two months or so…He's quite sick, but that's the situation."

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Erskine dismissed reports that Thorpe, 31, could lose the use of his left arm but said he was unlikely to be able to compete as a swimmer in the future. "He will not be swimming competitively again, I don't think," Erskine told the AAP. "The shoulder operation was a major operation. He's got as many plates as [late world champion motorcyclist] Barry Sheene."

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Thorpe won three golds at the Sydney Games in 2000, and another two at Athens in 2004. After announcing his retirement in 2006, he returned to the pool in 2011, hoping (but failing) to qualify for the London Games in 2012. Recently, the athlete opened up about his near decade-long battle with depression, for which he was hospitalized in February.

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