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.