Stevens to announce decision on Monday


Stevens to announce decision on Monday, by Michael Cowley -
22nd April 2004
(Credit: The Age / Fairfax)


Don't expect Ian Thorpe to be standing next to Craig Stevens when Stevens announces on Monday whether he will swim in the 400 metres freestyle at the Athens Olympics.

Stevens has reportedly been paid $60,000 to appear on Channel Seven's Today Tonight show on Monday to announce whether he will swim or surrender his place to Thorpe, who was disqualified after he false-started in the heats at the selection trials last month.

It had been suggested that because Thorpe is also contracted to the network, both swimmers could appear. But Thorpe's manager David Flaskas was adamant yesterday that would not happen.

"We don't know anything about the suggestions Ian would appear with Craig," Flaskas said. "We certainly haven't been approached to do so, and we would have no intentions of doing so."

Flaskas said that Thorpe's position on the matter of Stevens surrendering his 400 berth had not changed. He reinforced his swimmer's view that if Stevens did choose to give up his spot, before he did anything he would like to know the reasons behind the decision. Thorpe has said that if Stevens has been pressured into withdrawing to allow the world record-holder to swim, then Thorpe would not accept the swim.

Regardless of that, Stevens would not be in a position to publicly hand over the swim to Thorpe. The process is that Stevens must tell Australian Swimming of his intentions to withdraw. Head coach Leigh Nugent would then decide who should take his place, and while that would naturally be Thorpe, the process has to be adhered to.

Nugent would then speak to Thorpe and his coach Tracey Menzies, and if they agree, it would then be announced Thorpe would defend his title.

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