Olympian Ian Thorpe Comes Out as Gay

Associated Press
Ian Thorpe

"I've thought about this for a long time. I'm not straight," the swimmer said in an interview aired on Australian television.

Ian Thorpe, winner of nine Olympic medals in swimming events, has come out as gay during an extended interview aired on Australian television. 

"I've thought about this for a long time. I'm not straight," Thorpe said in a Channel 10 interview with Michael Parkinson. "And this is only something that very recently — we're talking in the past two weeks — I've been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that."

The 31-year-old had previously been subject to media scrutiny about his sexuality.

"I wanted to make my family proud. I wanted to make my nation proud of me," Thorpe said in the Parkinson interview, as quoted by the Associated Press. "And part of me didn't know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay ... But I'm telling not only Australia, but I'm telling the world, that I am."

Thorpe won three Olympic gold medals and two silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Four years later, in Athens, he claimed one bronze, one silver and two more gold medals. 

Thorpe's interview resonated beyond Australia, and it became a trending topic on social media. "To Everyone who has sent a message of support I sincerely Thank you!," Thorpe wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

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