GTea Break

Ian Thorpe comes out

“Part of me didn’t know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay.”

Over the weekend, 31-year-old retired Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe came out in an interview on Channel 10.

Thorpe had previously denied speculation regarding his sexuality for over 15 years. However rumours were laid to rest in an interview with Sir Michael Parkinson on Sunday.

Known as the Thorpedo, the swimmer has five Olympic gold medals under his belt and has broken numerous world records.

Thorpe said: “I’ve though about this for a long time. I’m not straight. And this is only something that very recently, we’re talking the past two weeks, I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me.

“I’ve wanted to [come out] for some time but I couldn’t. I didn’t feel as though I could. What happened was I felt the lie had become so big that I didn’t want people to question my integrity.

“Part of me didn’t know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay.”

In his recently published autobiography This Is Me, Thorpe wrote: “For the record I am not gay and all of my sexual experiences have been straight.”

Celebrities and the public alike have taken to social media to congratulate the swimmer.

Singing sensation Ricky Martin said: “Contrats @IanThorpe! Brave man! Happy for you! Millions appreciate what you’ve done! Proud of you! #SelfLove”

Former footballer and sports broadcaster Gary Lineker said: “Well done @IanThorpe on your ‘coming out’. Look, mate, it was a brave and right decision. Good luck to you.”

Australian YouTube sensation Troye Sivan said: “@IanThorpe you’ve made a gigantic leap for the LGBT community, the sporting community, and for Australia today. #OnYaThorpie :)”

Thorpe was thrust into public spotlight aged just 15 at the 1998 World Aquatics Championships where he won two gold medals.

See the interview below:

Words: Harry Dean, @harrydeansays

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