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Ian Thorpe Comes Out: 'I'm Not Straight' — VIDEO

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As anticipated, Australian Olympian swimmer Ian Thorpe told Michael Parkinson "I'm not straight" in an interview broadcast last night on Australia's 'ten' network.

Said Thorpe:

"I've thought about this for a long time. I'm not straight. Um, and this is only something that only very recently - we're talking in the last two weeks - I've felt comfortable telling the closest people around me. Exactly that."

Watch the interview clip and a news clip of Australian reaction, AFTER THE JUMP...

Thorpe added more to his statement, The Guardian reports:

"I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay man," Thorpe said. "And I don't want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay."

As Thorpe spoke – and his name trended on Twitter – the comments from the Australian public were overwhelmingly supportive. The gay community and the sporting world welcomed his decision and said it would help young gay people and gay athletes to feel supported.

"I was concerned about the reaction from my family, my friends," Thorpe said. "I'm pleased to say that in telling them, and especially my parents, they told me that they love me and they support me. And for young people out there, know that that's usually what the answer is."

Read the full interview transcript HERE.

Continue reading "Ian Thorpe Comes Out: 'I'm Not Straight' — VIDEO" »


Australian Olympian Swimmer Ian Thorpe Comes Out as Gay

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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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Ian Thorpe is About to Be Asked for the Nth Time if He's Gay: VIDEO

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Famed Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe is once again addressing rumors that he is gay. The five time gold medalist rose to prominence at the 2000 Sydney games. Since that time he has been asked if he's gay. 

Next Sunday, Thorpe will be sitting down with Sir Gregory Parkinson for a ‘no holds barred’ interview, in which his sexuality figures prominently. Referring to a promo clip being circulated ahead of the interview, The Daily Mail comments:

In the 25 second clip, Parkinson said to Thorpe: 'You've always said that you're not gay... is all of that true?' 

The scene then cuts to an uncomfortable looking Thorpe, 31, who appears to be nervously finding his words. […]

Parkinson said Thorpe's decision that no question was off limits was brave and says he examines the good times and the bad of the Australian swimming legend.

'His fight against depression offers a unique insight into the darker side of celebrity and success,' Parkinson said in a statement released by Ten.

'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.

Two years ago Thorpe commented that he was “annoyed” by the gay rumors. Just months later, Thorpe told a TV interviewer he wasn’t so much offended by the insinuation that he is gay as he was hurt by people not taking him at his word. As for the reasons for the speculation on his sexuality, Thorpe has long held that it is because he does not fit the typical mold of an athlete in the eyes of most.  

Watch the preview clip of the upcoming interview, AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Ian Thorpe is About to Be Asked for the Nth Time if He's Gay: VIDEO" »


Australian Olympic Diver Matthew Mitcham Covers Dolly Parton’s 'Dumb Blonde': VIDEO

  Matthew mitcham covers dolly parton's dumb blonde

Procrastinating before his end-of-semester exams, Australian 2008 Olympic champion diver Matthew Mitcham performs Dolly Parton’s "Dumb Blonde" with his ukelele.

We’ve previously featured Mitcham performing "Single Ladies" on his YouTube channel.

Mitcham gained media coverage in 2008 because reporters thought he was the first openly gay Australian to compete at the Olympic Games, an honor which was actually taken by diver Mathew Helm who won the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in the men's 10m platform.

Watch Matthew’s performance of "Dumb Blonde", AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Australian Olympic Diver Matthew Mitcham Covers Dolly Parton’s 'Dumb Blonde': VIDEO" »


Canadian Olympian Luger John Fennell: 'I Am Gay'

John Fennell, who competed for Canada in luge at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, has come out as gay in an interview with the Calgary Herald:

FennellNo more secrets. No more changing pronouns in conversations about personal relationships. No more fretting over perceived cracks in the story.

“It’s suffocating,” Fennell says of life inside the proverbial closet, even in the year 2014. “You have to play this game of, ‘who knows?’ You can’t let off any vibes or secrets. You have to act super macho. You have to be hyper aware of your mannerisms and to not let off any vibes that could get detected. It’s very exhausting.

“It’s an all-consuming paranoia of who could find out through what means.”

Fennell said he felt "isolated and alone" going into Sochi, which is part of what prompted his coming out, which he did while he was there:

“I was a little distraught over the lack of leadership going into Sochi,” he says of competing in country with laws forbidding “propaganda” of homosexuality to minors. “There were a few out girls, but to my knowledge there weren’t any out guys, and I know they’re there.

“I’m an athlete. Realistically, I put on a spandex suit and slide down a mountain. I’m no message board for political movements. But we need to have leaders in our sport community. If it takes a 19 year old to step up and to that, I’m more than willing to use my voice or the platform that I’ve been given to give a figurehead to gay youth in sport.”

Fennell, who said he was a "basket case" going into Russia, met with out Olympian Mark Tewksbury, who mentored him and inspired Fennell to find the courage to come out to his team while he was in Russia, and to his family when he got home.

 “You know that feeling when you’re falling asleep and you have that feeling that you’re falling, and you hit the ground, and you’re suddenly awake?” Fennell asks. “Well, that’s what it was like for me. I was totally, fully conscious all at once. A whole new aspect of myself opened up and it’s very liberating.”

Read the full article at the Calgary Herald...


Athlete Ally’s Hudson Taylor Explains Athletes' Silence on Gay Rights in Sochi

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On a SXSW panel discussion about the intersection of LGBT issues and sports, Athlete Ally’s Hudson Taylor shared his thoughts on the surprising lack of Olympic athletes who publicly spoke out in Sochi about Russia’s anti-gay laws. 

S2_sxswTaylor said he was originally optimistic about using the international spotlight of the Olympic platform to advocate for LGBT equality and pointed to the numerous current and former athletes (and even Rihanna) who embraced his Principle 6 protest campaign before the Games began. Ultimately, however, Taylor said that the dozen or so Olympic athletes who both competed in Sochi and were also backers of his Principle 6 campaign failed to garner the medals that would have provided them with the necessary media coverage to truly make a lasting statement. 

'68 olympicsTaylor also pointed to the iconic 1968 Olympic photo of John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising their fists in protest of racial injustice and lamented the reality that a similar push for gay rights failed to materialize in Sochi. 

But despite the missed opportunity, Taylor said he was looking ahead to the 2018 World Cup in Russia) and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as future opportunities to use an international sporting event to shine a light on discriminatory laws. Qatar remains one of the countries where homosexuality is still illegal

In my skinIn the meantime, Taylor stressed the need for LGBT athletes and their straight allies to stand up and speak out against the culture of homophobia in sport. He pointed to fellow panelist Brittney Griner (who was there discussing her new book In My Skin) as a great example of an athlete who is changing the sporting world just by being out and proud. Ultimately, however, Taylor said there is much work to be done in order to make the sporting world a more comfortable place for LGBT athletes. 

“While the reality is we’ve seen a lot of progress in the sports world over the last few years, we still have a long way to go,” Taylor said. “There are still a lot of closeted athletes. There are still people being bullied, being isolated because of their sexual orientation. We still only have one [gay athlete] in the NBA and maybe one in the [upcoming] NFL.”


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