During a television interview with British talk show host Michael Parkinson, the Australian five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Ian Thorpe publicly confirmed for the first time that he’s gay, thus coming out of the closet (finally).
He said that he just recently realized the truth about himself: “I’m not straight. And this is only something that very recently — we’re talking in the past two weeks — I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that.”
Thorpe denied his suspected sexuality for many years, even in his 2012 autobiography. In “This Is Me” Ian wrote that he is not gay, that all of his sexual experiences have been straight, that he’s attracted to women.
Also, he didn’t want to let his family and fans down. He now wishes he had come out sooner, as it is usually the case.
“I felt the lie had become so big that I didn’t want people to question my integrity. And a little bit of ego comes into this; I didn’t want people to question… have I lied about everything?”
The Thorpedo was only 14 when he was first chosen to represent Australia in 1998, and at that age he became the youngest world champion. He then won the 400-metre freestyle in Perth. Ian retired from swimming in 2012 after a very successful career in which he won 5 Olympic gold medals, 3 silvers, 1 bronze and set 22 world records.
He is now looking forward to living his life openly, without a burden of carrying a secret, and wishes to find a partner and start a family. Lovely!