Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe has dropped a defamation case against a French journalist and sports newspaper over doping claims.
Thorpe was suing the daily sports newspaper L’Equipe, its publisher, and journalist Damien Ressiot, over an article published in March 2007.
The paper claimed Thorpe gave a urine sample in May 2006 which showed abnormal levels of testosterone and a luteinising hormone.
Thorpe’s solicitor Tony O’Reilly said despite being served with the proceedings several times, counsel for neither L’Equipe nor Mr Ressiot appeared in court.
“In these circumstances Ian has decided not to pursue the proceedings as he sees little point in obtaining a verdict in the absence of Mr Ressiot and the publisher of L’Equipe,” Mr O’Reilly said in a statement on Monday.
‘No evidence’ of drug use
In August 2007, the Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), which went on to investigate the claims, cleared Thorpe, stating there was no evidence to support the allegation he used performance enhancing drugs.
FINA, swimming’s world governing body, made similar findings.
Having won five Olympic gold medals at the Sydney and Athens games, Thorpe is Australia’s most successful Olympian.
Mr O’Reilly said Thorpe brought about the proceedings to vindicate his reputation as a clean sportsman and to show the damage that can be done to the anti-doping fight if an athlete’s privacy is not respected during the routine drug testing process.
“Ian remains grateful for all the support that he received from Australians and people all over the world, as well as from the swimming fraternity and athletes from a number of other sports, who have let him know that they never doubted his integrity as an athlete.”