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

  90 Braden Keith | July 12th, 2014 | Australia, 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, in the interview Thorpe draws a connection between the two.

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

Leave a Reply

90 Comments on "Australian Olympic Champion Ian Thorpe Comes Out as Gay in Television Interview"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
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… Read more »

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.


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.

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.


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

Read More »