I feel the kind of sadness roll over me that descends upon you when you sense that a chapter is coming to an end, bitter rather than sweetly. I feel sad most of all because I feel like I have lost them. And you know this feeling persists when you dream about Ian breaking down and crying in your arms. Crying because of everything.
I miss Ian. Immensely. His absence haunts this sport in a way that is almost palpable.
And yet, there is no peace for him. It's unbelievable. I remember him saying that he was physically shaking when he heard the news about the doping allegations; he must have been so shattered.
I have been watching many clips of Ian on youtube, there are tons of them, many interviews, too, taken before his retirement. If you look close enough and listen close enough, you can all but feel his struggle, feel how much he wants to walk out of all of this. How he wasn't happy and how he wasn't gonna be happy, knowing it well. I wonder if he has ever felt happy in his life.
Pieter's coach was quick to defend Ian, with surprising fervor. I was waiting on a reaction from Pieter himself and when I read it on hollandswimming.com, I was shocked to see that, apparently, Pieter does not quite share that same fervor. This is what the article says in Dutch. It's dated April 1st:
Pieter van den Hoogenband reageert zeer voorzichtig en terughoudend op de dopingverhalen rond Ian Thorpe. Voor de camera´s van NOS-sport zei de Olympisch kampioen dat het hem zeer sterk lijkt dat Thorpe twee jaar na Athene 2004 doping gebruikt zou hebben: "Ik weet het niet, het is te vaag. Ik wil er helemaal niets over zeggen. Ik heb nu al te veel gezegd'.
This is what I understand Pieter said:
Pieter van den Hoogenband reacts very careful and distant to the doping story surrounding Ian Thorpe. For the cameras of NOS-sport the Olympic champion said that it seems very strong to him that Thorpe would have used doping two years after Athens 2004: 'I don't know, it's too vague. I won't say anything to it. I have now already said too much'.
Please, those of you who are Dutch or speak it fluently, intervene if what I came up with is entirely wrong.
I also consulted an online translator, but what struck me was that, in the end, it came up with what sounds an awful lot like this (if you correct its automatic non-English):
'I know it, it is not too vague. I won't say anything. I have now already said too much'.
Can this translation be right? If so, is it believable that Pieter would say something like this? And why?