As Ian Thorpe looked set to confirm a stunning return to the pool, Olympic great Murray Rose cast doubt over the benefits of the swimming champion’s expected comeback.
However, Kieren Perkins backed Australia’s greatest Olympian to again threaten the record books at the 2012 London Games – six years after his initial retirement.
Thorpe’s manager David Flaskas confirmed his star charge would end months of speculation and hold a press conference in Sydney on Wednesday regarding his future.
The rumour mill had spun into overdrive since Thorpe, 28, was spotted in recent months training in Sydney and Australian head coach Leigh Nugent confirmed he had been in regular contact.
And the writing appeared to be on the wall after Flaskas confirmed Thorpe had been inspired by the incredible comeback of good friend Geoff Huegill – at 31, three years older than the nine-time Olympic medallist.
However, Rose believed Thorpe’s return may hinder the progress of the much-maligned Australian men’s swimming team.
While the men showed signs of improvement at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, Rose hinted that Thorpe’s return may do more long-term harm than good.
“It’s like asking ‘does the Australian cricket team need Shane Warne?’ – the answer is obviously no,” four-time Olympic gold medallist Rose said.
“There is an ebb and flow in every sport.
“You can’t always be totally dominant.
“But if you look backwards then you are not developing your future talent as best as you can.
“And you are creating a dependence on the past that at best will last one or two major meets and then he is up and gone.”