With the Commonwealth Games in full swing, this weeks defining moment is the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was the host of the sixteen Commonwealth Games. Held between the 11th and 21st September 1998, this Commonwealth Games marked a record 69 competing countries which included 3,638 athletes. The 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games is of great significant importance as it was the first time an Asian country held the Games as well as marking the arrival of the young Ian Thorpe.
The Australians dominated the swimming events at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, but it was Thorpe who made the biggest impact, winning an incredible four gold medals at just 15 years old!
A year before the Kuala Lumpur Games at the age of 14, Thorpe had become the youngest ever male to represent Australia in swimming and was the youngest ever individual World Champion.
Thorpe’s first gold medal of the 1998 Commonwealth Games came in the 200m freestyle, where he won in a time of 1 minute 46.70 seconds, just one hundredth of a second outside of Giorgio Lamberti’s world record! Thorpe’s second and third gold medals came in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay and 4 x 100m freestyle relay respectively. His fourth gold came in the 400m freestyle, winning in a time of 3 minutes 44.35 seconds, setting another personal best. Astonishing for a 15 year old!
It led Australian swimming coach, Don Talbot to famously state; “You can’t believe he’s 15. It’s genetics gone bloody crazy!” This incredible feat by Thorpe is definitely one of the greatest moments at the Commonwealth Games.
Thorpe went on to win 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals, cementing his place as one of the Commonwealths Legends!
BY - Michael Hoy
28 July 2014