Ian Thorpe scandal back in the spotlight on eve of Tokyo Olympics

Ian Thorpe, pictured here at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
The leaking of Ian Thorpe's 2007 drug test results has been thrust back into the spotlight. Image: Getty

The Australian Olympics team boss and the new head of FINA have backed calls for an investigation into the leaking of Ian Thorpe's drug tests in 2007.

The scandal has resurfaced in the lead-up to the Tokyo Games, with world swimming's new boss quoted as saying he would support an investigation into how Thorpe's test results were leaked to the press.

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Shortly after Thorpe retired in 2007, a French newspaper was given details of a drug sample he had returned the previous year.

The tests showed abnormal levels of testosterone and luteinising hormone - both naturally-occurring substances.

Australian doping officials and swimming's world governing body FINA subsequently cleared Thorpe of any wrongdoing.

But the Aussie champion later said his reputation would be "forever tarnished" by the leak.

The scandal was thrust back into the spotlight over the weekend when The Sunday Telegraph claimed that then-FINA president Mustapha Larfaoui was responsible for the leak.

According to the report, Larfaoui purposely leaked the test results in an attempt to discredit Thorpe.

“Sorry – it was 14 years ago,” Larfaoui told the Telegraph.

“I don‘t remember well that situation and I don’t want to say the wrong thing. We are not as young as we were.

"But, to tell you the truth, I was very happy with my period in FINA, and I have good souvenirs and memories.”

Ian Thorpe, pictured here after winning gold in the men's 400m freestyle at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
Ian Thorpe celebrates after winning gold in the men's 400m freestyle at the Athens Olympics in 2004. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Australian Olympic boss backs calls for investigation

Thorpe had previously been critical of FINA's anti-doping measures as "inadequate", saying it was “naive” to think the Olympics was completely doping-free.

According to the Telegraph: “Swimming’s world governing body has long been suspected of trying to sabotage Thorpe’s career by leaking misinformation about his confidential test results in 2007 - then reneging on a promise to investigate the matter.”

Addressing the reports on Sunday, Australia's Chef de mission Ian Chesterman called for the "absolute pursuit of truth" into the controversy involving the five-time gold medal-winning swimming great.

"Ian Thorpe is an amazing Australia athlete and a great Australian Olympian," Chesterman said.

"I fully believe that there should be an absolute pursuit of truth in this situation and I certainly hope we get to that point sooner rather than later."

Recently-elected FINA President Husain Al Musallam also expressed his support for an independent investigation.

“It is wrong for anyone to leak any records, that’s my principle,” he told the Telegraph.

“If there is any evidence accusing any person, including me, then they should be punished.”

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