Ian Thorpe (center, with Pieter van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps) won gold in 200-meter freestyle in the 2004 Olympics. (Tim Clary / AFP Getty Images) should read TIM

Ian Thorpe, the Australian swimming great, is battling an infection in a Sydney hospital and is unlikely to swim again in competition, his agent said.

Thorpe’s agent did not reveal the nature of the infections, but said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, that Thorpe became “quite sick” after having a series of operations on his shoulder in Switzerland, where he has a home. He returned to Sydney and is being treated, according to the Herald, for MRSA, the dangerous methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus superbug.

“It’s serious, but it’s not life-threatening,” James Erskine told the Australian Associated Press. “He’s contracted two forms of bugs in hospital. He’s undergone two or three operations over the last two months so … I mean bad luck. He’s quite sick but that’s the situation.”

Erskine disputed reports that Thorpe, 31, could lose the use of his arm, but added, “From a competitive point of view – he will not be swimming competitively again I don’t think. The shoulder operation was a major operation, he’s got as many plates as Barry Sheene [the late champion motorcycle rider].”

Thorpe made an unsuccessful attempt to compete in the 2012 London Olympics.