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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.

Ian Thorpe

2012 (printed 2021)
Peter Brew-Bevan

inkjet print on paper (image: 53.2 cm x 80.0 cm, sheet: 73.8 cm x 111.5 cm)

Ian Thorpe AM (b. 1982) is one of Australia's most successful Olympians. He started swimming at age five and was fourteen when he made the Australian squad for the 1997 Pan Pacific Games. At the World Championships six months later, Thorpe was victorious in the final of the men's 400 m freestyle, making him swimming's youngest ever men's world champion. He won four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. Thorpe's first Olympic campaign, in Sydney, resulted in three gold and two silver medals and three world records. His haul for 2001 and 2002 included wins in six events at the world championships; six gold medals at the Manchester Commonwealth Games; and another world record. In claiming the 400 m freestyle world title in 2003, he became the first swimmer to win the same event at three consecutive world championships. His two gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics came from victories in the 400 m and 200 m freestyle, the final of the latter event pitting him against American Michael Phelps in what some pundits dubbed swimming's 'race of the century'. After retiring in 2006, he had a brief comeback to competitive swimming in 2012 and released his autobiography This Is Me. Thorpe has been open about his mental health issues as an elite athlete and is chair of the Australian Institute of Sport's Athlete Wellbeing Advisory Committee. He has two honorary doctorates, an Order of Australia and the Human Rights Medal, acknowledging his advocacy in Indigenous education, marriage equality and mental health.

Gift of the artist 2021
© Peter Brew-Bevan

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

Peter Brew-Bevan (age 43 in 2012)

Ian Thorpe AM (age 30 in 2012)

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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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