Australian Olympic Champion Ian Thorpe Comes Out as Gay in Television Interview

  90 Braden Keith | July 12th, 2014 | Australia, Featured, International, News

Ian Thorpe, revered as one of the greatest swimmers in history (he’s on anybody’s short list of 5), has revealed that he is gay in an apparent interview with Channel 10 interviewer Sir Michael Parkinson.

While there are many in the swimming community who are openly gay, making such an admission not typically a paradigm-shifting announcement, Thorpe’s is significant for several reasons.

For starters, in Australia, he is one of the country’s greatest sports heroes. Swimming there holds a much higher place in the pecking order than it does in most of the world, and while Australia is generally a fairly open and accepting place for homosexuality, sporting there has not been so easily swayed.

More importantly, it sheds some light on the depression and battles with substance abuse that Thorpe has been dealing with. In addition to the struggles that all athletes go to when transitioning to the dry-life, Thorpe has been keeping his sexuality a secret, and according to news.co.au, in the interview Thorpe draws a connection between the two.

The full interview will air on Channel 10 at 6PM on Saturday night.

Comments

  1. Eric says:
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    Very brave of him! Him coming out will hopefully help many young swimmers who’s in the same situation as him!

    • Whocares says:
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      Why is a persons sexuality news??? How is this “brave”? Sure, 20 years ago, or even ten…but these days I’m more shocked when gay athletes don’t admit it…

      • Cate says:
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        Your’e kidding right? I want to come live in your world. When Michael Sam was drafted by the Rams and kissed his boyfriend, by the reaction you would think he had mugged someone. Yeah, sweetie, it’s brave. Especially for an athlete.

      • Catholicswimmer says:
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        He isn’t brave. He is being narcissistic. Coming “out” is the essence of narcissism.

        • Lazy observer says:
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          Admitting one is gay is narcissistic? So, what, being straight is selfless? As in, “I only care about others, which is why I haven’t announced I am straight.”.

        • Jan says:
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          What???? You’re not serious? Yikes. And that’s exactly because of people like that he (and many) denied, hid during all these years. Sad.

        • aswimfan says:
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          He did not voluntarily “come out”. He was asked if he lied before and he gave honest answer.

        • David Berkoff says:
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          Boy, catholic swimmer, your posts always seem to castigate or attack those who violate the Godly doctrine that seems to rule your mentality. It must be really sad to live your lifeline constant fear of not getting though the pearly gates. In the meantime, please keep your hate to yourself.

          • Patrick Keenan says:
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            Thank you David for that reply. Hatred should NOT be welcome in the comments section on this site; opinion and freedom of speech are one thing,and totally separate from using pejoratives or hated filled words; swimming is a fair sport and should free from all things negative. Catholic Swimmer, Jesus loved all, and that means ALL those who you feel are sinners, and your statement is both uncalled for and intolerable. Shame on you.

          • Catholicswimmer says:
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            Even though most of the world agrees with me, I am well aware that American swimming is, in many ways, operating within a secular humanist bubble.

        • SprintDude9000 says:
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          “He isn’t brave. He is being narcissistic. Coming “out” is the essence of narcissism.”

          If that was the case then surely he would have come out much, much sooner? Stupidest comment ever…

        • Dee says:
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          Open your eyes, look beyond your own borders. Over 80 countries outlaw homosexuality, some of which have the death penalty. Even in those which do not, gay men are often killed by fellow villagers while lesbians are tried to be changed, using “corrective rape”. This still happens, in 2014. Then you call gay people who are free to be themselves narcissists for expressing who we are?

          Situation – You have a life long friend, you presume she/he is straight, as everybody does. You see them kissing their partner, somebody of the same sex… You know how you’d react, “I didn’t know you were gay?”. People are obsessed by sexuality, sadly. It seems gay people can’t win, don’t tell people and they speculate, tell people and they call you an attention seeker. Pathetic.

  2. rjcid says:
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    Well, yeah. Good for him to come out, but this isn’t news to most of us in the swim world. But nobody can force him or make him feel obligated to do so. I hope this helps other swimmers who feare the same backlash that he probably felt. Hope hes healthy, hope hes happy, all the best!

  3. Lazy Observer says:
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    I hope coming out brings him peace and allows him to enjoy his life and live it fully.

  4. Steve Nolan says:
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    Oh snap. Did he always “no comment” regarding this kinda thing?

    Hopefully making this public only helps him in regards to his recent troubles.

  5. Billy says:
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    This is no surprise, it explains all the troubles he’s been having. I had suspicions that he was……..There have been rumours for years.

    I hope everything works out for him. I met him once in Long Beach at a pre 2004 Olympic Trial meet. He was a nice guy and a incredible swimmer.

    I wish him the best!

  6. beachmouse says:
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    May he find peace in his life. He’s had such a rough time in recent years.

  7. aswimfan says:
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    I hope he finally finds peace.

    It was this struggle dealing with his sexuality coupled with intense pressure and spotlight in Australia that forced him to retire so early and to have troubles with his well-being.

    so many “what ifs….”

  8. Danjohnrob says:
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    I hope I speak for everybody in the swimming community when I say we love Ian just the same, gay or straight, and this revelation doesn’t change the amount of admiration we have for his accomplishments in the pool one bit! I’m only sorry he has felt the need to keep a secret like this for so long, because it seems to have affected his enjoyment of life. You deserve to be happy, Ian!

    • swimmer says:
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      Agree- doesn’t matter if he is gay or straight- it doesn’t and shouldn’t take away from his accomplishments in the pool. Wish we could’ve seen him compete at a high level with Phelps just one more time

      • liquidassets says:
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        As fans, your point about his potential to do battle with Phelps, et. al., for several more years is one of the hardest parts of all this, and I’m sure that it weighs on him much, much more heavily than on us. While he may have doubted Phelps in Beijing, the reality is that if he’d had a more “normal” career arc he would have been 25 and peaking in Beijing and may well have had a chance to be a thorn in Phelp’s side, in the 200 free.

        • BaldingEagle says:
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          Thorn in Phelps’ side in the 200 free, and possibly making the AUS 400 and 800 FR faster. All conjecture, of course, but his training and swimming in Australia could have made training partners/national teammates faster, at a time when Australia was definitely between generations. In 2008, Hackett was the only one left of that great generation of swimmers, which included relay champions and record-setters Michael Klim, Geoff Huegill, Matt Welsh, Todd Pearson, Ashley Calus, etc. Perhaps Hackett’s speed was affected by not having a Thorpe in the 200/400 double… the scenarios abound…

          However, I hope that Thorpe, one of the greatest swimmers in history, feels a big burden lifted and can appreciate all that he achieved. Congratulations, Thorpey!

          • Cabry says:
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            Small point–Ian was training in California. The fact that the Aussie media followed and stalked him there was part of the reason for retirement. I’m pretty sure if they had just left him alone, he would have swum at least through 2008.

  9. 112 says:
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    No surprise. I think most have known this for years. Good for him. I hate when people try to force people to “come out”. They will come out when they are ready.

  10. itsnotbreaststrokeanymore says:
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    I always hoped someone could walk up to Mr. Thorpe and tell him: “Everyone seems to love you but you.” I feel real bad for the guy as he is just a normal dude with amazing swimming talent who it appears beats himself up for not living up to some image he has crafted in his head. Has anyone here ever heard anyone say anything bad about the guy? I’m not familiar with the Australian press or glam scene, so I might not know what I’m talking about.
    If any of you exceptional swimmers interact with the guy, you might want to tell him that there are a lot of people in the US who would be happy to have their children grow up to be like Ian . . . not because he’s a great swimmer . . . not because he’s gay . . . and not because of how he looks. I’d love to have my son or daughter be like Ian because he is a wonderful sportsman and human being. The guy conducted himself with honor and class at every turn. ya, he’s had a rough patch of late with drugs and the hooch, but that doesn’t block out his humility, generosity and genuine niceness.
    Walk with pride, Ian! Walk with pride!!

    • aswimfan says:
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      “Everyone seems to love you but you.”
      “…beats himself up for not living up to some image he has crafted in his head”

      You summed it up very well.

    • Cabry says:
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      The Aussie media takes their swipes at him on a regular basis.

  11. RYCK says:
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    He has denied it for years

  12. Josh says:
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    I can’t say this is much of a surprise, but good for him for finally coming out. He could have saved himself a lot of agony had he done this long ago, but everyone has their own journey to make when it comes to finding the right time to come out. I wonder if he’ll come back to swimming and give it another go now that this huge weight has been lifted from his shoulders.

  13. ERVINFORTHEWIN says:
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    May he find peace once and for all , while it’s still a process to go through but probably with more softness and gentleness from within . He is on my list of the 5 most admired swimmers ever . he is young and has all the time ahead to build anything he feels right with . All my support for a more harmonious life . I hope he could read all the encouragements above on SWIMSWAM .

  14. John says:
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    No, NOT everyone “in the swimming community” is pleased at this. I am absolutely disgusted at his previous lying and the vitriol he gave people who dared assume he was gay. Will he apologise to all of them? I’m not interested in his sob stories as he had the ability to live a private life after his swimming no matter what public opinion. His vain ego demanded he wanted to be lauded too, long after he stopped. Some of us are gay and our sexuality has turned our lives upside down but we don’t have the luxury of not having to work, etc. Whereas I don’t agree that he had to be a “spokesperson” for gay people (as some would have wanted him to be), I do remember feeling even more like I didn’t belong on this planet every time he lied in his book or in interviews like it was the worst thing anyone could accuse him of! Bah!
    (Expecting hundreds of thumbs downs for this.)

    • Lazy observer says:
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      John, you act as if the reaction above is the reaction Thorpe would have gotten coming out in 2000 or 2004. I remember being the only kid in my school openly supporting equal rights rights in the late 90’s. It wasn’t well met and I wasn’t doing it under the kleig lights if fame. Is it sad that he made you feel lesser through his denial? Yes. But people don’t learn to accept who they are on other people’s timetable. He may not even have been honest with himself, especially if he grew up believing it was wrong. Comments here not withstanding, the world is still an unsafe place for many in the lgbt community and u don’t make it safer by castigating him for being human and finding his way slowly.

      • H2Opinion says:
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        It is the LGBTQ community. The “Q” stands for “questioning.” Perhaps Thorpe was questioning for many many years.

    • liquidassets says:
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      I understand how you feel and I agree he may need to seek some redemption with the gay community at some point, and probably more importantly with his loved ones for this and other behaviors. He will probably get there; it’s part of the 12 step process. But honestly I have tons of compassion for him. I can’t imagine already being so famous by age 14 and then having the public gay rumors start swirling at age 16. Youth is a huge factor; I think if it had been 24 and 26 instead of 14 and 24, things might have turned out much, much differently. When I lived in Australia in ’99-’00, he was still a teenager, and I remember everyone there assumed he was gay and would be coming out shortly, and remember thinking that was WAY too much pressure on such a young guy, all while he was trying to prepare to be a multiple Olympic champion.

      Try to put aside your resentment and put yourself in his shoes. I’m sure he is 100X more angry at himself than you are at him. Although he had advantages that you didn’t, he has been through his own version of hell. He retired early, probably never reached his full potential, missed out on a chance for a healthy social development, and he will have to live with those regrets. Regret is a tough emotion to deal with regardless of one’s station in life.

      While I’d like to think I would have made some better choices than him were I in his shoes, I don’t really know for sure whether I would have; fame is both a benefit and a terrible burden. The good news is that now that it’s all finally out, the real healing can finally begin and he has a whole lifetime ahead of him to continue on his path of philanthropy and redemption. Despite his flaws, he does seem like a very genuine and decent guy and I predict he will one day become one of the best ambassadors and role models for the sport ever.

      • JG says:
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        Haha . Do you remember in about Aug- Sept. 2000 he had his little boy floppy hairstyle hyper cut & groomed . The very next week I was in Oxford Street & all the guys were coming out with a similar do .

        There were not many Padstow boys sporting Armani outfits . Everyone likes to mock the ‘homophobes ‘ from SW Sydney , but it was they who helped him in his hour of need the local community , hospital & police) , not the Oxford St trendy mob.

    • Danjohnrob says:
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      I think it’s interesting that somebody who was unhappy because they were judged harshly for being gay might judge another person harshly for having difficulty being comfortable talking about his homosexuality.

    • Lennart van Haaften says:
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      The only reason he felt forced to lie is because people asked him about something that was none of their business. If they hadn’t asked, he wouldn’t have lied. He was just a teenager back when they first asked, not knowing how to deal with his feelings, and clearly not ready to come out.

      • Jg says:
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        IMO he has given too many interviews & many are contradictory . . In one He said something like – if he were to marry his grandmother told him to find a much younger wife . He stated that he had someone in mind .

        Given that he was about 30 . I thought hey – you are not such a catch that you can demand a co hort of much younger women to choose from .

        Reality Check ! I can only presume it was the meds.

      • Luigi says:
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        Totally agree with Lennart here. And many here should think twice before posting whatever goes through their heads. Thorpe had to go through a lot at a very young age. Be a little more understanding!

    • Cate says:
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      Are you in the public eye, John? Are you a world class athlete? If not, then you have no idea what he must have had to go through to deal with this and neither do I. It is docummented that he has suffered from depression. He doesn’t really need people piling on. If you don’t get more that 100 thumbs down, I will be disappointed.

  15. jman says:
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    so was he lying about being straight or about being gay?

  16. dj albertson says:
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    itsnotbreastrokeanymore said it the best. everyone should read it. what a thoughtful comment about a fantastic athlete.

  17. Philip Johnson says:
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    This won’t diminish his legacy one bit. Very brave of him to do this and best of luck to him!

  18. 9
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    lets see…straight swimmer….gay swimmer or just swimmer….who cares that this man is gay? I appreciate his love for the sport of swimming I for one could care less and when I am talking to people I never say that GAY basketball player, or that GAY golfer or that GAY swimmer I just refer to individual accomplishments and I think we should champion his achievements and leave his sexuality out of the picture completely

  19. spirith20 says:
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    After all that he has been thru, I have to admit I was hoping to see some tweets of support from those on the US National Team. Kudos to Ian for find the courage to face his demons head on and wishing well as he moves forward with his life.

  20. Sportinindc says:
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    Not a surprise. Glad he finally found the strength to be at peace with it. Booyah.

  21. @HCousinIII says:
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    I am so glad that he finally came out. I had a feeling that his depression was related to his struggle with identity/sexuality. This man was one of my swimming heroes growing up and I hope he finds some measure of peace at last.

  22. Jg says:
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    I began to suspect the very worst a few years ago . Rather than have his much begged for privacy ,he will be like Dawn Fraser who simply will not go away. It has been 50 fekkin years since she won anything & presto turn the tv on & there she is .

    It is already 10 years since Athens. His first official biography was just lies. He loftily stated he never bothered to read it . Then why authorise it ? There has been a long line of such disconnects .

    I don’t know anything about his personal life except when he wanted a dog , he obtained 2 chocolate brown labs ., when they were very hard to get . I wondered if he got them because they were exclusive & stylish . Then they must have been dumped when he decided to celebrity hop with Heath . I am not saying they were not cared for after but he ought to have followed his dreams then . He could do with being more decisive then & now .

    I only hope there is nothing more to this story than his ‘ journey’ . Then he can go & live his life . Unfortunately he can’t seem to let go & will be ‘ commentating’ the Commonwealth Games .

    Hello Dawn’s World. – here we go . I can see 2054 from here.

    • Lennart van Haaften says:
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      Thanks for bringing the good news. I didn’t know he was going to commentate CG.

      • JG says:
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        Glad to help & he needs the money . Luckily we have a public health system that paid for his long & intensive medical & mental treatment & he ought not be in debt for that .

        However he must somehow find a way to live his life outside of swimming soon. I have never forgiven those who allowed him to leave school at 15 . It ought to be up there in the Royal Commission into Child Abuse – but they only care about sexual abuse . How can anyone deal with life just on IQ ( which he definitely has ) ? His family ,his management & Swimming Australia failed him .

        But maybe he can exorcise those lost bleak years that included the 2002 Games not far south. We wish him the best but we can’t take too much more of this . Most of the Feb 2011 newspaper comments on his ‘comeback’ were in retrospect correct though they were correct . The recent response is similar. We are his countrymen not swim fans.

    • Becky D says:
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      You sound like fun.

    • Cate says:
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      You “began to suspect the very worst”??!! All anyone has to do is read your comment to know why he hesitated to come out.

      • JG says:
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        The’ very worst ‘ has to do with his need for publicity/ validation like Dawn . You saw what you wanted to see .

        As a matter of fact ,I first saw Ian early 1992 when someone said they were sorry for Ian for he was a fat little boy hanging around at meets where his sister was the family star. I was sad to see in Adelaide on his semi final in the 200 that he failed to progress . Worse I spotted his family in the stands up & leaving immediately .

        One thing I do remember from his otherwise book of lies was that his grandfather ( correction maybe needed here ) was a champion cricketer & was mighty disappointed that Ian was clumsy & would never be a cricketer . You would have to be Australian to understand .

        • Jg says:
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          Possible correction . ( it is almost. 10 years since I read it ) Maybe it was his father who disappointed his grandfather because he was hopeless at cricket . There is something in the family that propelled the 2 Thorpe kids on to succeed . His sister was unable to race up to her training potential ( anxiety / fear of failure?) so it was left to Ian .
          So there are many other reasons & aspects to his predicament besides orientation. Very common ones.

  23. 6
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    Finally he can confirm what alot of people have suspected over the years and can now live his life without these rumours hanging over his head. I hope that he knows that he has many fans all over the world who admire his accomplishments and just want him to be happy, healthy and whole.

    Best of luck to this Olympic legend

  24. Mcmflyguy says:
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    Ian Thorpe is still amazing. Being gay doesn’t take or give anything to what he has done. The thorpeedo is still the one swimmer I want to meet the most

  25. Bad Anon says:
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    Reminds me of Steph Rice’s gay slur some time in 2010 i think. Wonder how Thorpe and every1 in the Aussie gay community felt abt that…. #sad

  26. JG says:
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    “Fox ( Aust) Sports . November 1 2012 . ( Jason Devaney ) .

    Ian Thorpe Denies Gay Rumours .

    In a Fox Special special Ian sits down for a lengthy & personal interview ….”

    …WTF Lies & more lies.

  27. Tom says:
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    I wish Ian had not denied vehemently being gay recently… I have nothing against gays; when we lived in Canada we were very close to the gay couple. I hope gays and straight people could live their lives as they choose with the like-minded folks. I have two sons and one of them is genuinely nice guy who would not want to hurt other people feeling. Unfortunately his attitude seems to attract gay folks…During his high school year he had at least two schoolmates trying to get him into homosexual lifestyle. When he eventually confessed to my wife, and his mom, we were appalled what he went through….Unfortunately saying no, I am not interested, but I can be your friend, does not work with many of the gay folks…

    • wat says:
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      r u srs? what is this i cant even…

    • JG says:
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      That is nice but a problem is – Thorpe lied outright in his latest auto ‘This is me ‘ publicity stunt on Fox Sports network . This is 5 months after his stint on BBC for the Olympics & now he wants a career as a sports commentator/ interviewer .

      Are those he interviews allowed to outright lie? Is he alone allowed to lie ?

      I am thinking L’equip might have got the story right . That he did test positive & then , like now , sports authorities / fans ( like me) bent over backward to excuse a master manipulator . ( I also believed Lance for the longest time) .

      You know ,it is about truthfulness not sexual orientation .

      • JG-1 says:
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        JG……where do you live???? In a fascist state where humans are one dimensional?

        Please step down from the ivory tower where you are standing in judgement of all who stand before you, your Highness!!!

        Are these the shallow words of a true homophobe and a bigot?

      • Becky D says:
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        Wow. Did you just equate Ian denying being gay with Lance lying about doping?

        Please take a moment to reflect on what would motivate each of these men to lie. You’ve obviously had your feelings hurt and the trust you put in both men was betrayed. But this isn’t about you.

      • Kirk Nelson says:
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        “You know ,it is about truthfulness not sexual orientation .”

        No, it’s really about the fact he felt he had to lie about his sexual orientation when really no one should care if he’s gay or straight.

    • David Berkoff says:
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      Yes, those gays tried to lure your son into that gay lifestyle. But you are so tolerant because you knew a gay couple. And they’re okay so long as they don’t try to indoctrinate anyone and live by themselves. Nice. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps your son is gay?

    • MarkB says:
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      Notice Tom says he was close to “the” gay couple. Not “a” gay couple. Like it’s abnormal and thank God, there aren’t many of “them”.

      • Tom says:
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        MarkB,
        I moved to English speaking country at the age of 23 and, on occasions, I can use ‘the’ instead of ‘a’ without realizing the difference. Why would you want to twist my words and say I think about gay folks as abnormal? To David Berkoff: it did cross my mind that my son might be gay and if this is true I will love him no less because of his sexual orientation. But in my world no means no – no matter if one is gay or straight. And yes I do not agree with indoctrinating others…Growing up in communist country I saw enough of this. I believe that every person has a right to decide how to live their life; the right wing christians can be as dangerous as a radical gay folks.

  28. Michelle Cloonan says:
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    Who

  29. Sven D'Ortunzia says:
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    Good on you Thorpie for finally getting over your shame. We’ll all be pulling for you.

  30. Christopher says:
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    Some of us are missing the point. It doesn’t matter if he was “lying” to us or not. All that matters is that he is finally honest with himself, and that he can accept himself. This leads to inspiring other swimmers and athletes to come out or to come to terms with oneself and begin the process of excepting his/her sexuality. I am a gay swimmer, and he certainly has helped me a little by reassuring that I’m not crazy and that it’s just who I am, and that I’m not alone. Some people take more time than others, and it’s a huge internal battle with your heart and emotions. So please don’t be ignorant by focusing on his struggle with sexuality, and lets give him some brownie points for having balls to talk about it on television. And by the way, this does not change what he accomplished in his swimming career. His legacy should not be tarnished just because he is gay.

  31. Eleanor says:
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    How very brave of you to ‘come out’ in such a public forum … anyone who criticizes you is not worthy of any consideration. My very best wishes for a very happy future (hopefully with that family you dream of!)

  32. RAE says:
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    “Let those who never denied or felt uncomfortable with their own sexuality cast the first stone!”

    I just witnessed a brave young guy get stoned to death in here with the added bonus of a complete public autopsy on the ‘Closet’ the guy just sprang out of by some who seem to know both him and his family …up-close and kind of personal (…creepy!).

    He must feel like crap over his denials to accusations made by those holding microphones and pointing camera’s in his direction.

    There’s not a day goes by I am not hurt by my lies to myself and others in my journey but admitting to them makes me a better person and time heals.

    I wish this guy only the best (even though I never heard his name before today).

    Stay stong Swim guy!

  33. Lisa says:
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    I’m happy for him that he came out, hopefully he can find some peace in his personal life now. I do shake my head about his past denials though. It would be fine if they we’re simple ‘no comment’, ‘it’s no ones business but my own’ type of denials but he went on and on about how it was hurtful that people asked him if he’s gay, they are questioning my integrity…a bit over the top.

  34. Go Bears! says:
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    As if swimming’s cyclical ups and downs aren’t hard enough to deal with. I know he was more of a 200/400 swimmer, and 31 is a bit “old” for that, but any chance with this monkey off his back he can make a comeback, like Anthony Ervin? Australian Swimming sure could use a boost!

  35. coach mary says:
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    I met Ian before the 2000 games in colorado. He was up there training “hiding” from the rest of the world who followed him everywhere. The australian coaches told us all that no one was to talk to him but he signed autogrphs and was super nice to the kids anyway. These swimmers were there for the distance camp and I was one of the coaches. The pressure on him was incredible. You can’t re-do history. Being gay at the height of his career would have been quite the story. I don’t know how anybody could have handled it. I was in London for olympics and he was outstanding commentating on the Games. Why would anybody object to that? The woman commentator he worked with is gay. Maybe that experience helped him come to the decision to come out (even though I feel that it is none of my business). Also, I am old enough to know and admire Dawn Fraser. Why are australians so harsh on their olympians?

  36. Sven says:
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    Blaming Thorpe for not coming out sooner is unreasonable. He may be a public figure, and there is certainly something owed to his fans and the LGBT community, but his first obligation has always been, rightfully, to himself and his own well-being. He was probably denying it to himself for a good part of his life, and for the more recent years, he probably didn’t feel ready. As someone else put it, you can’t get mad at someone for developing on a different schedule than you.

    If someone asks if you are gay and you say “no comment,” you’re inviting everyone in the world to assume you are gay (and make no mistake, they will). So yeah, he could have avoided straight-up lying if he’d said “no comment,” but it’s not like everyone who heard that would turn around and say “oh, I guess I should stop speculating now and not jump to conclusions.” He was protecting himself from rumors that had no business being spread, regardless of truth.

  37. Bag Man says:
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    Attention seeking prima donna.

    • YES SIR says:
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      Amen to that. I don’t care if its a hobo on the street or Jesus himself comes down and says hes gay. Its not news to me. The fact he has to announce it to the public is appalling. Your personal life is your own. I don’t walk around announcing I love women. Why do people think its our business if you’re gay? Comes back to the liberal media wanting to make a big deal out of crap like this.

      And if you think I’m gay-bashing one of my best friends is gay. He’s a great person but I 100% guarantee you he would agree with my comment. He hates all the publicity this kind of crap gets.

      • SprintDude9000 says:
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        YES SIR – I assume that your friend is a celebrity sportsman with multiple Olympic medals too then? Having spent most of his life in the public spotlight surely it makes sense that he deals with the situation in a different way to us normal folk.

      • Sven says:
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        “My best friend– my BEST friend– is Puerto Rican, and that’s close enough” — Daniel Tosh

    • MarkB says:
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      Yes, he is seeking the attention of people like you that disparage him. I can’t believe I didn’t see through his scam.

  38. JDM says:
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    I grew up, as a lot of us did, idolizing Ian Thorpe for his swimming. As I started to struggle with coming out as gay to my college swim team, I looked around for role models. In 2001, there was not a lot of encouragement. I heard the rumors about Thorpe and always wondered if they were true. But more importantly, I saw the way he was treated by the media and spoken about by my fellow swimmers. So, in any event, I did my coming out without a lot of role models (as a lot of us in my generation (and before) did). In recent years, I have looked around the internet at Thorpe and wondered if his struggles with mental health and substance abuse were a product of not having come out. I never met him, but I have worried about him like he is a brother. A lot of us gay swimmers have. It was a big release yesterday to hear this news. So many phone calls and text messages. Here on this blog, I have read these comments as though they are comments about me. I am sure a lot of gay swimmers have. For a long time, we have struggled with believing that the sport we love loves us back. It has been gratifying to see the outpouring of love and respect on this thread (for the most part). So thank you, thank you, thank you. I only wish we had a time machine and I could have shown this to myself (and to Thorpe) when we were 16 years old.

  39. Socaladvracer says:
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    I don’t think he was in denial all these years, he just wanted that part of his life private. He’s lived with his Brazilian boyfriend for years. Perhaps the spilt coupled with the added pressure that he had about his sexually being made public caused the recent bout of depression. In order for him to properly heal, he needed to be able to be honest with himself (not that he was denying being gay to himself, he was living this life for sometime) but by admitting this publicly, he can now begin the process of getting treatment in a serious / real fashion.

  40. Billy says:
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    Ian Thorpe’s sexuality was one of the worst kept secrets in the world of swimming. Any half way intelligent person could read between the lines and reason that he probably was.

    It’s time to leave him alone and let him live his life as he sees fit. He’s always been a great ambassador for the sport. I doubt it’s easy to life your life in a fishbowl with everyone watching your every move.

    I hope he lives a very happy life. He’s earned it.

  41. therobotrichardsimmons says:
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    To yes sir: maybe he finally wanted the freedom to walk around in public holding hands with (and maybe kissing?) his significant other, a freedom we straight people enjoy and take for granted. I’m sure he’d rather make an announcement to preempt the media frenzy that would have certainly followed any public displays of gay affection.

  42. Dee says:
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    To those who think this “Isn’t news”,

    ‘Coming out’ isn’t about telling people you’re gay, as funny and unlikely as it might seem. It’s about finally accepting what you are, who you are and that you will never be able to change that. It signifies the worst is over, the barriers you put in front of yourself are removed – The self-loathing, the false pretences, the lies, the fear and the insecurities. All the barriers being gay had forced you to create in your head, they’re gone, or at least being overcome, one by one. It’s about being able to say “I’m gay and I’m not ashamed any of that anymore”.

    I am only a teenager myself and I opened up to my parents about my sexuality recently, after years of struggling, dropping out of school, Isolating myself and hating who I was. I was lucky in that, my parents are amazing people as are my two older brothers and nothing has changed for me, but that doesn’t undo everything I have missed.

    When I was fourteen-years-old I shouldn’t have spent endless nights worrying about whether my parents would still love me the same if I told them, or whether my brothers would have still wanted to play football at the park with me. How does it come to that, children having to fear something as trivial as who they might fall in love with? I’ll tell you how.

    Amongst young people, boys particularly, Homophobia is deemed as ‘cool’, it’s the norm. Calling somebody a ****** is no big deal, a ****** is a ******, and because of that, they are easy pickings. Nobody will step in because guess what, if you do, you must be gay too, only a gay would defend a gay, right? No, of course not, but amongst boys my age, that’s the reality. Could you Imagine that being the case in regards to any other sort of discrimination? No, the answer is unequivocally no. Most young boys & men accept homophobia as normality.

    Homosexuality is unique in another way. You can’t rely on the support of anybody. Sexism, racism – You have your family. Homophobia – For some, you lose even your family. It can be the loneliest experience Imaginable, which perhaps makes in unsurprising that young gay men lead national (Britain) figures in regards to suicide and mental health Issues. How can one suggested sexuality is a non-issue these days when young men feel the need to take their own lives in disgustingly high numbers solely because of their sexuality? It doesn’t correlate. There is a reason somebody hates something about themselves, because society has made them believe it is an inferior characteristic. The saddest thing is a lot of people live up in the clouds and believe that sexuality is a non-issue, as long as that stays the same, this will keep happening.

    That probably wasn’t relevant, but I felt it needed to be said, to suggest sexuality is a non-issue is naïve. Seeing the positive responses on this blog has made my day, it has honestly put the biggest smile Imaginable on my face.

    Finally and most Importantly, good on Thorpie – I just hope he can find happiness and balance in his life now, not many people would be more deserving of it. A true legend and Inspiration.

    • DL says:
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      I am sorry that you suffered for so long, but it is great that your parents accepted you the way you are. My own son is 14 and he came out a couple of years ago. My wife and I have been supportive from the outset and so has the extended family, and he’s a happy little guy. I am hopeful that our society is changing quickly and in the near future kids and adults alike will be less likely to suffer as a result.

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