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Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe 'in good spirits' despite serious infection

Ian Thorpe arrives at Crown's IMG Tennis Player's Party at Crown Towers on January 13, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.
Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Australian swimmer and Olympic champ Ian Thorpe made headlines this week when he was hospitalized due to two infections he contracted in his shoulder. He is currently being treated at a Sydney-area hospital and although the infection is serious, Thorpe's condition is not life-threatening. His manager says he is currently on antibiotics but overall is "in good spirits."

Thorpe, 31, contracted two different bugs following surgery on his shoulder, which he injured after a fall at a home he keeps in Switzerland. The injury reportedly became infected in a Swiss hospital after his second surgery. When it flared up, he then returned to Sydney for further treatment of the infection, which is said to be similar to Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Though some publications reported that Thorpe is in intensive care, manager James Erskine confirms he is not. He also tells BBC News that no one has suggested he would lose the use of his arm, which was also reported. Thorpe had also been dealing with depression and was taking antidepressants in addition to medication for the shoulder injury. Last month, he was admitted to a rehab facility after police found him disoriented near his parents' Sydney home.

"It's been a tough 12 months for Ian," Australian sports correspondent Jim Wilson told BBC. "He's been suffering from depression and gone through his own battle with the demons. Let's hope he can get himself right - he's an icon of Australian sport and a worldwide superstar."

Thorpe, who is also known by the nickname "Thorpedo," made his Olympic debut at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and won three gold medals and two silver. He won two more in Athens in 2004, plus a silver a bronze, making him Australia's most-decorated Olympian. In 2006, he announced his retirement and later launched a comeback bid in 2011 but ultimately did not qualify for the 2012 London Games. Erskine says he then decided "that was it" and did not have plans to compete again.

As for his next gig, Thorpe is set to work for the BBC at the Commonwealth Games, a multi-sport event featuring competitors from the Commonwealth of Nations every four years. This year's edition will run from July 23 to August 3 in Glasgow, Scotland.

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