Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe
has come out gay.
The 31-year-old Thorpe announced for
the first time publicly that he's gay during an interview with Sir
Michael Parkinson broadcast Sunday night on Australian's Channel TEN.
“I've thought about this for a long
time. I'm not straight,” Thorpe answered when asked about his
sexuality. “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 has won five Olympic gold
medals, the most won by any Australian. He was also the most
successful athlete to compete at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Thorpe denied rumors he's gay in his
2012 autobiography This Is Me.
“For the record, I am not gay and all
my sexual experiences have been straight. I'm attracted to women, I
love children and aspire to have a family one day … I know what
it's like to grow up and be told what your sexuality is, then
realising that it's not the full reality. I was accused of being gay
before I knew who I was,” he wrote.
He said Sunday that he “lied”
because he didn't want his integrity questioned.
“And, you know, a little bit of ego
comes into this. I didn’t want people to question that. … Have I
lied about everything?”
“I've wanted to [come out] for some
time. I didn't feel I could. Part of me didn't know if Australia
wanted its champion to be gay.”
“I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay
man,” Thorpe said. “And I don't want young people to feel the
same way that I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you
can be gay.”
He added that he was concerned about
how his family would react to the news.
“I'm pleased to say that in telling
them, and especially my parents, they told me that they love me and
they support me. And for young people out there, know that that's
usually what the answer is,” he added.