London, Feb 7(ANI): American swimming legend Mark Spitz has said Ian Thorpe faces a "monumental task" to qualify for the relays at the London Olympics, six years after retiring from the sport.
Spitz said Thorpe's challenge would be regaining the competitive edge of his prime.
"The training part is like riding a bike, it comes back to you, but the racing part is not like riding a bike. When you retire, the rest of the world doesn't sit around waiting for the decision of a past champion to come back," news.com.au quoted Splitz, as saying.
"I don't think as an athlete you forget how to train, what you really lose is that you don't know how to race the new competitors. One of the nuances of why I was successful is that I knew how to compete against those who I had been competing against for years. When I came to the pool, I knew that they were wondering who would finish second behind me," he added.
His statement comes in the wake of Thorpe struggling to regain his former competitive edge, ahead of the six weeks to prepare for the Olympic trials from March 15-22.
"For him to make the relay really is going to be a monumental task because he has to be in the top four in his country. That is not going to be an easy task," Spitz said.
But another swimming legend Dawn Fraser is hopeful Thorpe is living upto the challenge.
"I hope that Thorpe does make the relay team because he has the experience of being an Olympian and I think it's extremely important to have someone on the team who has the experience of being in an Olympic village because it's not like home. An Olympic village is entirely different," she said. (ANI)
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