Thorpe checks himself into rehab

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Ian_Thorpe AFP Ian Thorpe has battled depression and alcohol abuse. Picture: AFP Photo / Gabriel Bouys

Sydney – Swimmer Ian Thorpe, Australia's greatest Olympian, has checked himself into a Sydney hospital in his longstanding battle against depression and alcohol abuse, news reports said Friday.

The 31-year-old, who admitted to being shattered by failure to qualify for the London Olympics in 2012, entered hospital on Wednesday, Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported.

He returned to live with his parents in Sydney at Christmas after 18 months in Switzerland. The paper reported that Thorpe was injured in a fall earlier in the week.

Thorpe, a world champion at 14 and winner of five Olympic gold medals, has struggled to adjust to his retirement from swimming and the burden of celebrity. There have been failed business ventures, a foreshortened career as a television personality and money troubles.

In his autobiography he revealed a struggle with depression and alcohol.

“Not even my family is aware that I've spent a lot of my life battling what I can only describe as crippling depression,” he said. Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones, a close friend, was quoted as saying that “it's serious but there's not a lot I can or want to add.”

He said that Thorpe “has difficulty recognising his problems.” – Sapa-dpa

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