Ian Thorpe is addressing rumors about his sexuality, saying that he is tired of fending off talk that he is gay.
The five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist said that he’s had to fight off the rumors about his sexuality throughout his career because he doesn’t fit the stereotype of an Australian athlete, Stuff reported.
Ian Thrope is now publishing an autobiography in which he addresses those rumors, writing about his long battle with depression and the frustration caused by having to constantly deny that he is gay.
In the book, This is Me, Ian Thorpe writes that, even if the rumors were true, he would have nothing to hide or be ashamed about. But he adds that it’s hurtful to have people question his integrity and not believe that he is heterosexual.
Thorpe wrote that “the only part of it that I’m frustrated with, is that people think that I’m lying.”
“I guess I behave differently,” Ian Thrope told an Australian television station. “I like different things too.”
Thrope notes that his depression started in his mid-teens, around the same time he was becoming an international sensation in the pool, Swimming World reported.
“And at the time, I didn’t know that it was depression and it wasn’t until a little bit later that I actually went to seek some help,” Thorpe said. “I didn’t actually have the words to put around what I was feeling, and I think a lot of young people struggle with that.”
Thorpe said he didn’t seek treatment for this depression but instead used red wine to dull the pain.
Ian Thrope faced rumors again at the end of his career. He retired shortly after the 2008 Olympics amid rumors that he was doping, ones that were quickly debunked, Swimming World noted.