Melbourne, Aug.4 : Former Australian Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe has decided to pursue legal proceedings against a French newspaper and the journalist he alleges defamed him by publishing claims he used performance-enhancing drugs.
Daily sports newspaper L'Equipe published a report by Damien Ressiot in March 2007, saying that Thorpe returned a sample in 2006 that showed abnormal levels of testosterone and a luteinising hormone.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the New South Wales Supreme Court in Sydney has set a date of September 22 for lawyers on both sides to meet and decide on proceedings.
Lawyer Tony O'Reilly said that Thorpe wanted to repair the damage done to his reputation by the claims.
Speaking publicly for the first time since being cleared by world swimming governing body FINA - two months after the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) said he had no case to answer - Thorpe today said he was relieved the ordeal was behind him. "I was glad when it was over but, you know, it's not really over yet and it never will be. My name is forever tarnished, more so overseas than what it is here, and that's something that I continue to have to deal with," news.com.au quoted Australia's most successful Olympian, as saying in November last year. sked if he could ever restore his reputation 100 per cent, Thorpe said: "No, you can't. It's not possible".
The five-time Olympic gold medallist had said then that he hadn't ruled out taking legal action to identify the person who leaked the confidential information to the French newspaper that led to his public ordeal while the matter was still being investigated by ASADA.
Thorpe expressed sadness about not preparing for the 2008 Games in Beijing.