Ten years ago, Stevens’ milestone moment to qualify for the Athens Games became a sideshow when the great Ian Thorpe inexplicably tumbled into the water like a winged albatross and was disqualified from the 400m freestyle event at the trials.
Stevens finished second to Grant Hackett – in a personal best time – but the pressure mounted for him to relinquish his place to Thorpe. The issue dominated the media for a month.
“Is it really that long? Ten years? I hadn’t even thought of that.”