‘I’m Not Straight:” Australian Olympian Ian Thorpe Admits Being Homosexual

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | July 14, 2014 12:49 PM EST

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, who won multiple gold medals at the Olympics for his country, has admitted to being a homosexual. Thorpe said that he was ashamed for not having the courage earlier to tell it to the world. The man who claimed to live "a dream life for an Australian" once considered committing suicide due to his sexuality.

REUTERS/Regi Varghese/Files
Australia's Ian Thorpe swims during the men's 200m Freestyle heats at the 2012 Australian Swimming Championships to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics, in Adelaide in this March 16, 2012 file photo. Thorpe, Australia's most decorated Olympian, revealed he was gay in an emotional television interview on July 13, 2014, ending years of speculation about the champion swimmer's sexuality.

This is the first time the Five-time-Olympic-gold winner talked openly about his sexuality even though he has been asked about it for the one decade and a half. He has always told the press that he was not gay. He maintained his stand of claiming his heterosexuality for the last 16 years or so. However, he finally admitted that he had been living a "lie" as did not want people to question his integrity.

"What happened was, I felt that 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," Thorpe told Sir Michael Parkinson in an interview on Network Ten, He also said that he did not want people to believe that he had lied about everything in his life. Thorpe chose the interview on Sunday, July 13 to declare that he was "not straight" for the first time in public.

According to the champion swimmer, his friends were less shocked to hear it from him than his mother. He had been concerned how his family and friends would react, he said. However, he is relieved to see that everyone accepted him with his sexual preferences. He found it comfortable to talk openly about his sexuality. "You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay," he said.

Thorpe, on the other hand, said that he was aware of the homophobic nature of the society. He also said that he had been openly abused by strangers for his apparent homosexuality. He was unsure if his country would accept his sexuality as well. "A part of me didn't know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay," he said.

Other Australian athletes who are gay

Alyson Annan, Rebekka Armstrong, Casey Dellacqua, Mathew Helm, Gus Johnston, Daniel Kowalski, Matthew Mitcham, Ian Roberts and Ji Wallace.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: REUTERS/Regi Varghese/Files / )
Australia's Ian Thorpe swims during the men's 200m Freestyle heats at the 2012 Australian Swimming Championships to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics, in Adelaide in this March 16, 2012 file photo. Thorpe, Australia's most decorated Olympian, revealed he was gay in an emotional television interview on July 13, 2014, ending years of speculation about the champion swimmer's sexuality.
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