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Swimmer Sullivan shuns London spotlight
By Liam FitzGibbon
15:00 AEST Sat Jul 21 2012

He was the 'it' boy of Australian swimming in Beijing but, four years on, Eamon Sullivan is relishing being just another face in the crowd at the London Olympics.

Sullivan carried the weight of expectation into the 2008 Games as one of the world's top sprint swimmers and very much the Dolphins' pin-up boy due to his relationship with fellow swimmer Stephanie Rice.

The pair broke up shortly before those Games, where Sullivan broke the 100m freestyle en route to taking silver in the final behind Frenchman Alain Bernard.

Plenty has changed in the four years since, with a frustrating run of injuries and the emergence of James Magnussen and James Roberts combining to shift him out of the spotlight.

But Sullivan wouldn't have it any other way.

"I'm in a completely different position as far as world rankings and expectations and spotlight," said Sullivan, who hopes to play a vital role in Australia's 4x100m freestyle team in London before his individual event, the 50m freestyle.

"... If anything, it's probably going to be more beneficial coming in as an underdog, being able to stay away from all the stories.

"I think the stuff with Steph and myself as well was probably the most of the media I was getting in the lead-up to that ... to be honest, I haven't thought about it (this time) and I've enjoyed every moment."

Sullivan described his first Olympics in Athens 2004 as "a blur" but says he's prepared for everything at his third Games.

"I know what's to come and I've just been trying to enjoy every single moment of it, which I have so far," he said.

Sullivan is yet to decide whether he will keep swimming beyond London, and hasn't ruled out a tilt at the Rio 2016 Games, but says he would only continue swimming the 50m.

The Celebrity Masterchef winner plans to leave Sydney, at least temporarily, after the Games to return to his hometown of Perth and work in his newly-opened cafe.

In the meantime, he knows there's a job to be done in London.

And not just for himself, with Sullivan keen to act as a mentor and pass on his experience and knowledge to the likes of 18-year-old sprinter Cameron McEvoy to help guarantee a bright future for the men's team.

"I'm not going to be in the sport forever and he's going to be there for a lot longer so I want to help him as much as I can," Sullivan said.

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