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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

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Ian Thorpe

2002
James Houston

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 30.3 cm x 41.6 cm, image: 27.3 cm x 40.8 cm)

Ian Thorpe OAM (b. 1982), former swimmer, was selected at fourteen for the national team. Speedily earning the nickname ‘Thorpedo’, over the next ten years he set thirteen world records and won eleven world championship gold medals. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney he won three gold and two silver medals, and in Athens in 2004 he won two golds, a silver and a bronze, making him the country’s leading Olympic medallist. He was named World Swimmer of the Year four times between 1998 and 2002. Young Australian of the Year in 2000, Thorpe founded Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth to raise funds for ill and disadvantaged children. His retirement from swimming at the age of 24 prompted much discussion of whether or not he had been the world’s all-time greatest swimmer. Amongst his many popular and official awards is the Don Award of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, awarded to sportspersons who are ‘considered to have had the capacity to most inspire the nation’. For his support of Indigenous health and education, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Sydney in 2013.

James Houston, Sydney-born, took the first nude cover for Australian Vogue in 1997. In 1999 he shot the calendar for the Sydney Olympic Games. In 2000 he moved to the USA, where he is now a leading fashion, beauty and celebrity photographer.


Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2002
© James Houston

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

James Houston

Ian Thorpe AM (age 20 in 2002)

Donated by

James Houston (2 portraits)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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