@IanThorpe’s epic press conference fail
Oddly-coloured, self-indulgent and attention-starved. That’s how Ian Thorpe came across at yesterday’s glitzy, jam-packed press conference.
Yesterday, I wrote glowing things about Thorpe. I couldn’t, and still can’t, say enough about his genuine, intelligent commitment to the welfare of indigenous Australians.
Then came his presser, where none other than the CEO of Virgin Blue announced Thorpe’s comeback to competitive swimming.
I’m going to say that one more time for emphasis, the way they do on talkback radio. The boss of an airline, not Thorpe himself, announced Thorpe’s comeback.
The twittersphere went nuts as the presser unfolded yesterday, and understandably so. @alphasport tweeted a beauty:
“When a sponsor announces your comeback, the corporatisation process is complete.”
Two of my favourite tweets came from former Olympic long jumper, now athletics commentator and PR man Dave Culbert.
On his @Culbert_Report twitter feed, Culbert wrote :
“Thorpe presser set to become historic PR fail lesson for all uni students. On so many levels. So many levels hard to know where to start.”
Followed by this gem:
“By the look of Thorpe’s orange face Jetstar would have been a better fit”
Melbourne Sports radio station SEN got into the spirit of things with this well-worded backhander:
“Is he going to compete for Australia or Virgin Blue?”
And if you were reading The Punch yesterday, you might have noted a few tweets by me on the sidebar of the website. Like this cheeky one:
“Official. Thorpe to undiscontinue his career. A tanning salon somewhere is going to be very very upset”
And this somewhat bitchy effort:
“Thorpey says he misses the competition. I think he misses the attention.”
And this one:
So #IanThorpe doesn’t want media attention, but does want the backing of the sponsors on the ad hoardings. That, friends, is hypocrisy
And there’s the crux of where this event got on the nose with so many people, a trend noted almost immediately online at The Australian.
Thorpe’s return announcement was stage-managed to a degree that makes Michael Clarke seem like a laissez faire easy-going knockabout dude with a disdain for publicity.
All the hype would have been totally fine were it not for one factor: Thorpe’s repeated vow that the hardest part about all this would be the focus, the limelight, the media attention.
“I have to accept that I have to deal with all of this [media attention] again,” he said.
“It is not something that I have wanted in my life for a long time. It will probably be the biggest deterrent for me to perform well.
“But my drive to perform at the London Olympics is bigger than how I feel about putting myself through this.”
Well, gee. Good to know Thorpe is willing to put up with the hype which he did everything in his power to beat up.
I wish Thorpe well. I really do. At his best, he is eloquent and impressive. Let’s just hope he keeps it real between now and London. Oh, and that he doesn’t fall into the pool at the Olympic trials next year.
By the way, it looks like The Punch was right yesterday in predicting he’d concentrate on the 100m and relays rather than his old events, the 200m and 400m freestyle.
Hey, Thorpey’s talking himself up. Why can’t we take a leaf?
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…