Ian Thorpe, the Australian Olympic swimmer nicknamed the Thorpedo and Thorpey, has called persistent gay rumors “hurtful.”

The 30-year-old 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.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to promote his autobiography This Is Me, Thorpe said the rumors question his integrity.

“Yeah, look, the thing that I find hurtful about it is that people are questioning kind of my integrity and what I say,” said Thorpe. “That's the only part that I find hurtful. Like is that, you know, this is something that I would be embarrassed about, that I would hide or whatever else.”

“I don't want to offend anyone that, you know, whether they're people [who] have friends that are gay or whatever else, I don't want to offend them by … getting angry about it, getting frustrated about it. The only part that I'm frustrated with is that people think that I'm lying.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

Thorpe has previously evaded answering questions about his sexuality, suggested he's bisexual and flatly denied that he is gay.

For example, in a Sunday's London Telegraph interview, he left the question open, answering, “I tick all the boxes,” while in the documentary Ian Thorpe: The Swimmer, he simply answered, “Women,” when asked about his sexual orientation.