Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe has ended months of speculation and announced his return to the pool, hoping to make the Australian team for the 2012 Games in London.
The 28-year-old quit competitive swimming in 2006 after a glittering career which included five Olympic gold medals, three silver and a bronze, and 11 world championship titles.
Thorpe said he had registered for the drug-testing regime on Wednesday as he was required to do nine months before beginning competition, Reuters reports.
At the height of his career, the swimmer nicknamed "Thorpedo" was the greatest middle distance freestyler to date. He was never beaten in the 400m metres and only once over 200m
Thorpe says he began training again in September last year and will concentrate on the 100m and 200m freestyle. However, he said he would swim in an individual event in London if he qualified at Australia's Olympic trials early next year, but says he is realistic.
"If I had an individual swim as well, I would take it. But it still is baby steps ... just because I've had extraordinary results before, doesn't mean I will instantly be able to have them again."
Thorpe says he asked friends to lie in order not to derail his comeback, but did not tell family members of his plans until January.