Ian Thorpe. Source: News LimitedThe 28-year-old five-time Olympic gold medallist, who has not swam competitively since the 2006 Commonwealth Games trials, told a packed press conference in Sydney that he wanted to be part of the London experience.

Thorpe, who actually made the decision to return to the pool last September and had been coached via text by Australian swimming head mentor Leigh Nugent, announced that he would be doing most of his training away from Australia, primarily in the United Arab Emirates and in Europe.

With the 2012 London Olympics less than 18 months away, he said he did not believe he had enough time to prepare for the 400 metres freestyle, his favourite event, and would instead train as a sprinter, something he said "may surprise a lot of people.'' He will be aiming at the 100m and 200 freestyle, with special emphasis on the 100m.