Ricky Martin, Gareth Thomas and Matthew Mitcham are among the celebrities applauding Olympian Ian Thorpe's decision to come out gay.

“Congrats @IanThorpe!” out singer Ricky Martin tweeted. “Brave man! Happy for you! Millions appreciate what you've done! Proud of you! #SelfLove.”

After years of denials, Thorpe, Australia's most decorated Olympian, acknowledged he's gay, saying he lied because he “didn't know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay.”

(Related: Ian Thorpe comes out gay: “I'm not straight”)

Australian Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham, who came out before competing at the 2008 Beijing Games, said he understood Thorpe's reluctance on the issue.

“I can totally understand how difficult this whole process has been for him,” Mitcham told Sydney's the Telegraph. “I really hope this process gives him some peace and that the media and the public give him the same respect and the same overwhelming support I received in 2008.”

Another Australian Olympian, Stephanie Rice, echoed the sentiment.

“I'm sure it must have been incredibly hard for @IanThorpe to come out, but I hope this brings him peace and that everyone respects his choice,” Rice tweeted.

Retired rugby star Gareth Thomas, who came out gay in 2009, added: “Never question. Support it. A happy man today. #Thorpedo.x”