Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe reportedly revealed during an interview on Australian television that he is gay. The five-time Olympic gold medalist, who retired from the sport in 2012, is expected to reveal his sexuality in the interview with Michael Parkinson, which should be shown in the country on Sunday night.
A teaser clip of the Thorpe interview was released by Australia’s Ten Network Saturday, according to the Telegraph. The clip shows Parkinson asking the swimmer, “You’ve always said that you’re not gay. Is all of that true?”
The camera pans to Thorpe, who looks uncomfortable and appears to be contemplating his answer. Australian paper the Sunday Telegraph reported that the swimmer “confirms his sexuality” and “has bravely revealed he is gay.”
The Guardian notes that Ian Thorpe, known as the Thorpedo for his prowess in his sport, broke 22 world records along with winning five Olympic gold medals. He won three gold and two silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, making him the most successful athlete at the Games. He also won 10 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.
The interview also details Thorpe’s battle with depression, drugs, and alcohol. The addictions caused him to check into a rehabilitation center earlier this year. If Ian Thorpe does come out as gay in the interview, it would be a dramatic revelation, since the Australian swimmer previously vehemently denied the rumors about his homosexuality.
In his autobiography, This Is Me, published in 2012, Thorpe said that he found questions about his sexuality hurtful. He wrote, “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.”
Thorpe added, “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.”
In a statement released by Network Ten, Parkinson explained that Ian Thorpe’s decision that no question was off limits was brave. Parkinson added, “His fight against depression offers a unique insight into the darker side of celebrity and success…. What fascinates me most about Ian is that, apart from the very beginning of his career, he never seemed to enjoy and celebrate his success.”
Fans and organizations reached out to Thorpe on Twitter, celebrating and showing their support for his reported decision to come out. For his part, Ian Thorpe has not confirmed or denied the rumors that he came out during the interview.
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