Australian superstar confirms what many has suspected for years.
Five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe has come out as homosexual in an exclusive interview with Michael Parkinson.
The Australian swimming champion bravely confirmed his sexuality in the interview despite him having dated women in the past and always deflecting questions about his preference in men or women.
Such is the level of cover up, Thorpe even wrote in his own autobiography, This is Me, which was published in 2012, that he was straight and found the continued questions about his sex life as intrusive and upsetting.
“The thing that I find hurtful about it is that people are questioning my integrity and what I say. That’s the only part I find hurtful, that this is something I would be embarrassed about and that I would hide,” Thorpe wrote in his book.
Thorpe, who has battled depression since he retired from swimming in 2012 when he was aiming to make the Australian Olympic, Commonwealth and World Championship team over the next two years.
However, a shoulder injury put a roadblock in front of him that he was unable to overcome.
Thorpe last made headlines for a hospital stint which was attributed to admission for treatment for depression and also minor surgery.
Australian diver Matthew Mitcham said he hoped the sporting public would support Thorpe as they did with him after he came out publicly.
“I can totally understand how difficult this whole process has been for him,” Mitcham said.
“I really hope this process gives him some peace and that the media and the public give him the same respect and the same overwhelming support I received in 2008. The Australian public and media have a really wonderful opportunity to set an example for kids who are in Ian’s position.”
The Parkinson interview, which will screen in Australia on Channel 10 on Sunday, will also touch on his battle with depression and drugs and alcohol.
The 31-year-old burst onto the scene in 1996 at the Australian Age Championships winning five gold medals before making a name for himself internationally at the 1998 World Aquatic Champs in Perth where he won two more golds.
From there he went on to be arguably the greatest Olympian Australia has produced and was seen as a figure head of every team that travelled away, until his first retirement in 2006.
Thorpe is just one of many major sporting stars to come out in the past year with NBA centre Jason Collins and NFL player Michael Sam also attempting to breakdown barriers about professional sportsman and their sexuality.