Ian Thorpe gave an interview to Australia's Foxtel channel over the weekend in an effort to quell allegations that he is fat, unfit, and "enjoying too much of the company of Hollywood superstars including Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams and Joel Edgerton."
Of course he's not going to be in perfect shape — he's been ill and injured. Thorpe suffered from glandular fever earlier this year and recently fractured his hand. The Olympian says he trains 40 hours a week but also that he thinks about quitting every day: "Over the last couple of months, I toyed with the question of quitting virtually daily. I love training, I love racing, but you know the things that come with it -- the unwanted attention, all of these things that affect my family. They get to you and it does affect you. You know, I start to question is this actually worth it, is it what I want, because I can't turn it off and I can't get away from it."
Thorpe said that although he moved to L.A. to avoid media scrutiny and get some privacy, that hasn't happened, and paparazzi await his every move. No comment on whether he's adopted the approach of his compatriots in dealing with them.
Foxtel's reporter couldn't help asking about ongoing speculation regarding Thorpe's sexuality, which he responded is no big deal:
"People can think whatever they want to think and people will tell you black and blue that I am gay. There is no basis for what they are saying. It's no big deal because that doesn't affect any part of my life. I don't care what people are saying in that regard because it doesn't mean when I get in my car I worry about what's going to happen today or am I being followed. It's not embarrassing."
Thorpe has also discovered one of L.A.'s culinary delights, the In-N-Out Double-Double burger, protein-style (wrapped in lettuce leaves rather than a bun). Says Thorpe: "It's really, really good. If anyone comes here, go and have it..."
We'll agree with that. Meanwhile, U.S. rival Michael Phelps won five gold medals at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships over the weekend, breaking world records in the 200m IM, 200m butterfly and 400m freestyle relay.
Last week, he told Ian Thorpe to bring it to the world swimming championships in Melbourne next year: "I just hope he wants to get back in shape because if I am going to be world champion, I have to beat the best and Ian is a champion."
A few more shots of Phelps and his teammates from the Pan Pacific Championships after the jump...
Neil Walker and Phelps.
Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderkaay.