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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Ian Thorpe

1998 (printed 2019)
Brett Canét-Gibson

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 111.0 cm x 80.5 cm, image: 110.0 cm x 73.0 cm, frame: depth 4.3 cm)

Ian Thorpe AM (b. 1982), champion swimmer, was fourteen when he made the Australian swimming team for the 1997 Pan Pacific Games. In 1999 he set world records for the 400 and 200 metres freestyle. He broke his own records for both events again in qualifying for the Sydney Olympics, in which he won three gold and two silver medals and set a further three world records. His haul for 2001 and 2002 included six world championship titles and six gold medals at the Manchester Commonwealth Games. In claiming the 400 metres freestyle world title in 2003, Thorpe became the first swimmer to win the same event at three consecutive world championships. At the 2004 Athens Olympics he won gold in the 400 metres and 200 metres freestyle. World Swimmer of the Year for 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002, Thorpe’s subsequent honours include two honorary doctorates and the Human Rights Medal, acknowledging his advocacy in Indigenous education, LGBTQI+ rights and mental health.


Perth-based photographer Brett Canét-Gibson has produced photo and written essays for national and international publications and has been a National Photographic Portrait Prize finalist multiple times. He took this shot at the World Championships in Perth in 1998, when the fifteen-year-old Thorpe emerged from the 400 metres freestyle final as swimming's youngest ever men's world champion.

Purchased 2019
© Brett Canét-Gibson

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Brett Canét-Gibson (age 33 in 1998)

Ian Thorpe AM (age 16 in 1998)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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