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Australian swimmers cry foul over 'handouts' to fund Thorpe's comeback

Sydney, Sun, 11 Mar 2012 ANI

Sydney, Mar 11(ANI): Several Australian swimmers have demanded their governing body, Swimming Australia, reveal how much money has been spent to bankroll the return of comeback stars like Ian Thorpe amid rumors of "six-figure handshakes".


It is implicit that in the team agreements, where rankings determine pay, Thorpe was given 100,000 dollars, while triple Olympic champion Stephanie Rice was offered just 12,500 dollars.


One of the swimmers said he was saddened at the lack of clarity from Swimming Australia.


"It's not a slight against Ian and what he has meant to this team, but you've also got to look at current swimmers that could have used that money better for their preparation," quoted one of the swimmers as saying.


Thorpe has enjoyed a worldwide training odyssey in which he has visited 13 countries in 12 months, traveled more than 143,000 kilometers, attended the royal wedding, had training camps in St Moritz, Tenerife and Lindau and been away from home for 345 out of 376 days.


While there is no doubt that Thorpe has the financial backing to afford such an extravagant return, questions are being raised about the cost Swimming Australia incurred.


Head coach Leigh Nugent and high-performance scientist Bernard Savage have also made multiple trips to Switzerland, costing tens of thousands of dollars, for monitoring Thorpe's progress.


Swimming Australia chief executive Kevin Neil said the trips coincided with Olympic site visits or other business in Europe, but the time dedicated to Thorpe's return has angered other swimmers. (ANI)


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