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Sport's comeback Kings and Queens

By Tom McGowan, CNN
  • Ian Thorpe has announced his return to swimming and his aim to compete at London 2012
  • Lance Armstrong recovered from cancer to bounce back and win seven Tour de France races
  • Michael Jordan came out of retirement to lead the Chicago Bulls to three NBA titles

(CNN) -- Ian Thorpe's decision to renege on his self-induced retirement from the pool in order to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London has led many to wonder whether the former champion can return to his former glories.

The 28-year-old Australian, dubbed "Thorpedo," will be seeking to add to his legendary haul of five gold, three silver and one bronze medal from two previous Games, but will an appearance in a third bring similar reward?

Thorpe is not the first world-class athlete to have a change of heart where retirement is concerned, and his predecessors have returned with varying degrees of success.

Above are a collection of individuals who, after turning away from their disciplines, have returned to once again reach the top of their respective fields.