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Australian Olympian Swimmer Ian Thorpe Comes Out as Gay


Australian Olympian swimmer Ian Thorpe comes out of the closet in an interview airing tonight on Australian TV, the Daily Telegraph reports:

After years of personal struggle, Olympic hero Ian Thorpe has bravely revealed he is gay.

The 31-year-old confirms his sexuality for the first time Sunday in an exclusive interview on Channel 10, telling all to veteran British interviewer Sir Michael Parkinson.

It’s understood the interview, which Parkinson has described as one of the best he has ever conducted, includes a full admission from Thorpe that he is gay despite having dated women in the past.

In the emotional sit-down shot last month, Thorpe also details the years of depression he has battled while denying his sexuality from the world. Part of that concealment included his own autobiography This Is Me, published in 2012, in which Thorpe wrote that he found questions about his sexuality hurtful.

Thorpe's sexual orientation has been the focus of the media for more than a decade, since the 2000 Olympics. Staying in the closet in the public eye for so long has to be incredibly damaging. Hopefully he's found some peace.


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  1. LOLOLOLOLOL was my immediate reaction to this. But seriously, congratulations to Ian Thorpe, now you get to breathe.

    Posted by: Critifur | Jul 12, 2014 10:08:14 AM

  2. Better late than never!

    Posted by: JoshLondon | Jul 12, 2014 10:12:09 AM

  3. Good God, this sure took long enough. Too bad he could not find the courage before he was financially secure.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jul 12, 2014 10:20:48 AM

  4. He looks so destroyed by his denial.

    Posted by: ceem | Jul 12, 2014 10:22:55 AM

  5. Ian Thorpe? The guy who practiced denial as an art form for over a decade, to the point where it bordered on being offensive how annoyed/depressed he would get with the question? Who knew.

    Posted by: danielmendeswho | Jul 12, 2014 10:26:51 AM

  6. The closet, no matter how well you furnish it, sucks. Good job - now you can live an authentic life

    Posted by: bozemanmontana | Jul 12, 2014 10:28:01 AM

  7. At the risk of sounding insensitive - MAJOR YAWN zzzzzzzz. No one I know in Sydney was even vaguely interested if was Gay.
    Great career achievement, stellar athlete back in the day but he is such a bore. Seriously he already unintentionally announced his Gayness when he designed that pearl necklace and promoted that butch piece of jewellery with his face covered with black lace -seriously Google it. Oh and everyone bought the story that the hot Brazillian male he was sharing a house with was just his 'college roomie'.

    Posted by: Edward | Jul 12, 2014 10:30:30 AM

  8. I welcome him out into the sunshine. Welcome, Ian.

    Posted by: Andy | Jul 12, 2014 10:35:35 AM

  9. Good on 'im. This guy must have NO support system, no healthy friends who might have supported him in coming out, earlier. I'm sorry that whatever kept him closeted was so effective and so predictably damaging. I hope it get's better, now, for him.

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Jul 12, 2014 10:36:41 AM

  10. I told you!

    Posted by: mymy | Jul 12, 2014 10:38:51 AM

  11. Better late than never. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for him to keep his sexuality hidden and the lengths he went to do so. That's sad. But now he can be happy. Congrats dude!

    Posted by: Cary Chauvet | Jul 12, 2014 10:54:13 AM

  12. His story is vitally important because it points to something that people continue to ignore: just how insidious anti-gay prejudice in our culture still is. We still have grown adults terrified of coming out - of people knowing that they're gay, of even "acting on" their attractions and being themselves. in 2014.

    when we come out, the most important thing we can do is be specific about the factors that kept us Closeted. the fears, the pressures, the drummed-into-our-heads-as-children prejudices and rhetoric that leave so many in our community grappling with forms of internalized homophobia, even years after they come out.

    a story like this is relevant - because it shows how intense a culture of prejudice is.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 12, 2014 10:56:13 AM

  13. I'm truly shocked!

    Posted by: No one, EVER | Jul 12, 2014 11:13:34 AM

  14. I remember him saying that the most hurtful thing about the gay question is that no one ever took him for his word, he felt like his character was being questioned if everyone always assumed he was lying . Fast forward to today... Wow. I'm glad he's come to terms with his truth. I hope this will be the cure of his long time depression.

    Posted by: Anony6 | Jul 12, 2014 11:20:22 AM

  15. I'm guessing the autobiography, the public appearances and the coming out interview are all an attempt to revive his otherwise dead showbiz career. Does he still have an agent and a promoter? Does he think he can do product endorsements after so long out of the spotlight? Does he think there's an Ian Thorpe brand of some sort? Most Olympians don't have allusions of grandeur and fade into oblivion once their athletic careers are over, but somehow Thorpe got it into his head that he could stay famous and not have to work for a living. We don't even hear about Michael Phelps anymore--the world was shocked to learn that a guy who spent every hour of the day in the swimming pool was very immature at best--a much better candidate for lasting fame.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 12, 2014 11:21:50 AM

  16. everyone's journey is different. I hope he finds his peace.

    Posted by: titus | Jul 12, 2014 11:22:21 AM

  17. Good for him. I'm a little surprised as I thought he had done this already but it is good he has finally found courage to be open and honest. The reason I thought this had already happened is that he recorded a video clip for Australia Day in 2012 or 2013 which apart from being lively and fun was pretty gay in tone.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 12, 2014 11:24:42 AM

  18. For 31, he's looking kinda rough. But then again, years of anxiety, depression and stress can do that. But good for him for coming out. The healing can finally begin.

    Posted by: cameo | Jul 12, 2014 12:04:17 PM

  19. If he was black, would we be so niiiiiiiiiice?


    Michael Sam is a god compared to this fool.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jul 12, 2014 12:10:01 PM

  20. Any time anyone public comes out, for any reason, it's a cause for celebration. Just remember that back in 2000, only 14 years ago, there were very few out athletes still competing - who? I can't think of any. No Jason Collins, no Michael Sam. Thorpe would have had it all to himself. These things take time. Thorpe obviously didn't have the support system at the time. He will be a good ally and role model. Those who criticize his past denials and timing - well, we can't all be like you.

    Posted by: Jim | Jul 12, 2014 12:11:53 PM

  21. JIM - those criticizing him can put their face and names to their comments and show Who They Are. Right? Meh - those who criticize are likely still living with one foot in the closet, themselves.

    this coming out puts into context the lies of his autobiography - and putting those lies into context is what's needed in culture: i've had enough with "i'm gay" stories - i'm more interested in "here's why I was closeted" ones.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 12, 2014 12:14:22 PM

  22. I think he'll be doing well in the years to come. Being in the closet can take its toll. Good luck to him !

    Posted by: Harrison | Jul 12, 2014 12:14:28 PM

  23. Little Kiwi always types in the cadences of the Public Service Announcement.

    Posted by: will | Jul 12, 2014 12:19:38 PM

  24. Proof not only that gaydar exists, but that it is perfectly accurate in 99 cases out of every 100.

    Posted by: LemmyC | Jul 12, 2014 12:28:38 PM

  25. So the profits pendulum for him has finally swung towards confirming rather denying his sexuality. Hopefully better health and happiness accompanies it.

    And hopefully he spends the next decade helping to undo his legacy of the last decade which taught us that being gay is a shameful secret.

    Coming out is fantastic, yes - but not a process that is somehow immune from critique or discussion.

    Posted by: Regina | Jul 12, 2014 12:31:29 PM

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