Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe says he’ll retire after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but right now he’s preparing for a returning to the pool at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
He told the Courier Mail that fame has comes with its price and talked about the hecklers that often follow him:
“It varies from time. It’s not pleasant. It’s a downer but you have to look at it from a logical point of view. If someone yells abuse at you in the street you have to understand that they don’t know you personally so they don’t really have a basis or a reason for why they’re yelling. If someone screams a profanity at you and you don’t know them, you just have to disregard it as you walk down the street and that’s kind of what I have learned to do. I just think ‘well, we’ve never sat down and spoken and I don’t know why you don’t like me but you’ve got more of an issue than I do’. They do (target my sexuality) to an extent. But I think we’re past that now. I think most people are over that most of the time. But that’s not what people are always yelling abuse at me about….I don’t know what it is, but it happens and it’s ridiculous.”
“People think they know me by what other people generally write or what they see. But it’s a very inaccurate opinion because by the time someone has read something about me it is third-hand, usually. In a lot of cases I’m not as nice as what people think I am. I’m not as good, I’m not as bad, or whatever else. Whatever thoughts or feeling people have about me they are usually exaggerated. I am not an attention seeker. I by no means want to be more famous. I live every single day in the public eye and I don’t get that luxury of switching it on and off.”