Perkins skips Grand Prix meet due to injury (21/07/00)
Perkins no fox (11/07/00)
Reiterer riles Perkins (08/07/00)
Perkins at Canberra Grand Prix (25/06/00)
King Kieren carries the flame, ignites the cauldron (14/06/00)
Kieren looking forward to carrying flame (09/06/00)
Perkins skips Grand Prix meet due to injury
Kieren has skipped this week's grand prix meet in Brisbane due to a rib injury. The problem began when he strained the joint whre his rib connects to the vertebrae. "That has happened to me a thousand times before. It is no big deal. I guess I should preface that by saying this has only happened about twice in the last 18 months, where it was a monthly and sometimes weekly occurrence before. The difference is the last two have been more severe. Why the soft tissue has reacted so much this time I don't know."
"That [dislocated joint] was the initial thing but after three or four days of pretty hard work by (physio) Peter Stanton, we were able to get the joint back in," said Perkins.
"The trouble was that all the muscular inflamation causes the joint to pop back out. And after that you get into a vicious cycle where the inflammation causes it to pop, which causes more inflamation... I've never broken a rib before but I'm told the pain I'm in is the equivalent of that."
"By Wednesday it got to the point that because the muscle inflammation was not improving my phisotherapist recommended that I undergo what it known as trigger point injections. In layman's terms that involves sticking a rather large needle into the muscle, slicing around until you find the bit that hurts most, then injecting that with a small amount of anaesthetic and saline. I guess you could say that, in a roundabout way, it was minor surgery. I know it hurt like hell. I have been spending in the vicinity of 4 hors a day in physio."
"You just want to get back into the pool and keep swimming."
After being restricted to kick work and sessions using fins where he did no more than roll his arms over, Perkins is back swimming freestyle. However he felt it was best to skip this meet. Perkins said that had this meet been the Olympics, he would still have been able to compete to a high level.
"But I wouldn't have come out of it in very good shape at all,'' he said. "To have raced this weekend would have put me out of training for a week."
Perkins no fox
Kieren Perkins laughs uproariously at suggestions he has been foxing for the past four years to hold something back for one last big swim.
Just one last win at the Sydney Games in September is all he needs to complete his dream of becoming the only man in history to win three successive Olympic 1500m golds.
The scenario has prompted some fans to ask if The King's been keeping something in reserve?
Kieren was amused. "No. I'm not. Believe me," he said. "Life's much easier when you're winning and it's all easy. Coming from behind and having to work so hard to try and recapture form is not something ... you'd do by choice."
But finally everything seems to be falling in place again for the triple world record holder.
"It's going well," said Perkins. "My preparation has been good. I've managed to stay healthy and all of that. I've just got to keep head down and bum up and make every post a winner as they say. I've still got a long way to go. Hopefully, the next eight weeks will be more than enough."
Punters are still backing Perkins to win in September. "He's sort of like the Greg Norman of the pool," said Gerard Daffy, a spokesman for Australian sports betting agency CentreBet.
"It doesn't matter whether you think he can win or not, you back him in the hope that he can."
"That's what happened in Atlanta. In Atlanta in the final, he was four to one and we took so many bets at a ratio of 10 to one compared to Daniel Kowalski. Kowalski on form had to be the long odds-on favourite. The more realistic punters are prepared to take the short quote whereas the patriotic types stick with the other way. I think the same thing is going to happen this time around. We're going to have this national pride type thing behind Perkins."
In fact, no matter what colour medal he wins he will be making history, as no-one has ever won 3 consecutive medals in the event, of any colours.
Reiterer riles Perkins
08/07/00, by AAP
It's not always easy being better than everyone else.
Kieren Perkins has heard the whispers since stunning swimming fans with 11 world records during the early 1990s. And he's watched teenage teammate Ian Thorpe having to deflect similar allegations - they're so good, maybe they're on drugs. But until now, the finger pointing has come from overseas.
This time the attack was by someone who's worn the green and gold - many times.
When Perkins read excerpts from discus thrower Werner Reiterer's book Positive, his blood began to boil. Reiterer, a former Commonwealth champion and two-time Olympian, claimed swimmers - because of their high profile and marketing potential - were given access to the best drugs on the market. He claimed the human growth hormone (HGH) used by some swimmers was between three and seven times as powerful as the regular-manufactured product. Perkins took the accusations personally.
It was an assault on him and an assault on each of his teammates - 43 of them preparing for the Sydney Olympics. A mockery of the hours of work they've put into being the best in the world.
While he's never discounted the possibility of an Australian swimmer one day testing positive to a performance enhancing drug, suggestions of systematic doping are another matter.
``Not so long ago there was a New Zealand swimmer who got done for drugs that shocked us all,'' the 26-year-old dual Olympic gold medallist said. ``New Zealand is not so far removed from Australia. The reality is that while sport is in the position it's in, one day there is going to be somebody who's going to be tempted and will get caught. But that's very, very different from coming out and saying that all of the top swimmers are all given the best stuff over the throwing athletes because we're the ones that they want to win or we make the most money or whatever it is. They're allegations of systemised doping. We're not talking about some renegade kid who's gone down to a local gym and grabbed some steroids. We're talking about systematic doping from the highest level. That's insane.''
"Not once in my career have I ever heard or seen or come across absolutely any shred of evidence, even the tiniest shred ... about any Australian swimmer being on anything illegal," Perkins said.
Perkins said the Australian swimming team underwent blood tests during the recent Canberra grand prix meet to be used as part of the push by scientists to find a test for performance enhancing EPO.
"You can't tell me that a group of athletes supposedly being supplied with the best drugs in the country are going to just put their hands up and say: 'Yep. Here's our blood, go for your life, do whatever tests you like on it'. It's just ludicrous."
Reiterer has since distanced himself from the claims, saying he knew of no specific Australian swimmers involved in taking banned drugs.
But Perkins is worried the mud will stick without an inquiry to test the claims.
``Allegations like that just aren't going to disappear, especially when they're in print,'' he said. ``It's just not going to go away, as disgusting and distasteful as it is. I think it's necessary that an inquiry take place and all of us should be given the opportunity to stand up and clear our names under oath. He's made a direct attack on us. We should be given the right to defend ourselves.''
Perkins said he had deliberately shied away from pointing accusatory fingers at suspect swimmers from other countries, after his own experiences.
``I think it's a tad unfair,'' he said. "There will always be people in this world who have different, better, worst physical attributes than anybody else. To accuse somebody of drugs because they might be bigger than the average or whatever is a little big wrong. Over the years, I've had people accusing me of being on drugs. More recently, Thorpie has. If you look at us and you look at the things we've achieved in the sport and the way that it's happened over a period of time etc, etc, etc there's no glaring anomalies.''
Thorpe, for instance, had made steady improvements over a number of years.
``It's not like he's a 26-year-old who's gone from 50th in the world to an Olympic gold medallist in a matter of months,'' Perkins said. "I'm the same. Over a period of years, my performances improved and I broke world records after those improvements. While some people might want to stand up and say they're freakish ... you can still see a reasonable or normal improvement in time.''
So what will happen when Thorpe, Perkins and the rest of the Australian take to the blocks at the Sydney Games?
"I hope the reality of it is that the Australian public realise ... we're in the water working our butts off doing the absolute best we can for the country and that's the end of that. There's no more to it,'' Perkins said.
Perkins at Canberra Grand Prix
This 2-day low key meet is bring contested by the Australian Olympic swimming team. Kieren, Grant Hackett and Daniel Kowalski pulled out of the 1500m to save themselves for a distance training camp next week. However Kieren qualified for the final of the 200m and will swim that tonight instead. Last night Kieren finished 2nd in the 400m freestyle in 3:58.71.
Two other Grand Prix meets will be held in Brisbane July 22-23 and Melbourne August 26-27.
The 1500m swims of Kieren and Grant Hackett at Olympic Trials have been analysed and it seems that though Perkins finished 2nd, he actually swam faster than Hackett, but lost out only on the turns. Kieren is reportedly doing an extra 100 tumble turns a week to rectify the problem.
Soundclip of Kieren's press conference at the June training camp in Caloundra: [Media Player] - [RealPlayer]
14/06/00 - Tens of thousands of spectators clogged the city centre as Kieren Perkins ran the final leg of the Olympic torch relay in Brisbane - Australia's 3rd largest city and Kieren's home - to light the cauldron to a wildly cheering crowd and begin the evening celebrations.
It was not so much a run for Kieren as a walk, touching the outstretched hands of many lining the streets.
"I didn't want it to be over too quickly. Even though I walked down the hill to spread it out a little bit, it still all happened very fast,"
"It's one of those situations I guess where you're just so overwhelmed and excited, it seemed like it was over in half a second. It was so fast, so exciting."
"Walking down the hill... it was an incredible feeling."
"It brings it all home and as well, makes you realise how incredibly special the event is going to be."
Kieren admits he panicked for about 25 seconds on stage when the cauldron would not light. When it did, he was thrilled.
"Yes it looked a bit worrisome for a while there when that cauldron wouldn't head off, but look, it's great," he said.
"I got another five seconds up on stage, it was brilliant, it was just so overwhelming and exciting."
Kieren ranked the experience even better than his Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996. "This tops the list so far. I can't explain to people just how special it is. I'm an Olympian. I've been to two Olympics now. This today makes that pale into insignificance, just being here, my home town, lighting the flame. On to Sydney- I can't wait for it."
"It's not hard to get motivated for the Games when you've got something like this going on around you," Kieren said.
"It's a feeling that I almost can't believe, how much support we have had and just the honour of not only carrying the torch, but also lighting the cauldron in my home city, with that many people there, it was something that I will never ever forget."
More pics and story
Kieren Perkins can't run as well as he swims, but that won't stop him carrying the Olympic torch through his home city of Brisbane on Wednesday.
Just hours after the torch arrived in Australia yesterday the Superfish revealed his excitement of being involved. He will run one of the legs through the Botanic Gardens along the Brisbane River.
"The torch relay is something I have been looking forward to as soon as it was announced that former Olympians would have the opportunity to run," Perkins said.
"I was the first to put up my hand and to say I wanted to buy the torch.
"I have gone through the full evolution of the (Olympic) experience. I have gone from the fully focused athlete to the wide-eyed realisation that this only happens once in a lifetime and I have to take advantage of everything that goes on around me to the point where I am at now where I feel lucky to be involved in an elite activity and I intend to make full use of it and enjoy every minute of it."
But for Perkins it was the "100 days to go" mark that sparked the realisation the Games were approaching _ not the arrival of the flame, which was lit at the site of the ancient Games in Olympia, Greece.
Since last Sunday Kieren and the other members of the Australian Olympic swimming team have been at an orientation camp in Caloundra, and Posters advertising the countdown were plastered around the resort where the Australian team is staying, making it difficult for any athlete to avoid noticing the benchmark.
For Perkins it means just over 100 days are left to prepare for what he hopes will be his greatest hour by winning his third consecutive gold medal over 1500m freestyle in front of a home crowd.
"The 100 days puts into perspective how close it is,'' he said.
"It is not very long at all. But to be honest I haven't got too heavily involved in it because I am trying to get my body back working the way it should again. I am not having the best time in the water at the moment - just physically I am not recovered from the trials yet."
Perfectionistic Perkins does not wish to watch a replay of his gutsy swim at Olympic trials. "I don't need to see how bad it was. I know how bad I went. The time was slow, my turns were terrible, my stroke was average. I am always my own hardest critic," Perkins said.
"When you are trying to attain perfection you can't be satisfied with mediocre performances."
"My taper probably just got shot a little bit with the 200m being where it was. The three or four days after that I went downhill quickly and by the time the 1,500m came around I did feel pretty flat in the water."
"Once I start swimming well again that is when I will start thinking about the Olympics and what the final is going to be like and that feeling of swimming the 1,500m in front of a home crowd."
When told Grant Hackett was insisting that as defending Olympic champion Perkins should be favourite in September, wily Perkins replied: "I'm sure Grant would want to take as much pressure off himself as he can and if trying to get you lot printing that I am the favourite is his best way of doing it, well, so be it."
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