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Olympic Swimmer Ian Thorpe Comes Out: 'I'm Comfortable Saying I'm a Gay Man'

Olympic Swimmer Ian Thorpe Comes Out: 'I'm Comfortable Saying I'm a Gay Man'

Ian Thorpe has come out as a gay man.

The 31-year-old Australian Olympian opened up about his sexuality during an interview with Channel 10‘s Michael Parkinson (via AP).

“I’ve thought about this for a long time. I’m not straight,” Ian said. “And this is only something that very recently — we’re talking in the past two weeks — I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that.”

“I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man,” Ian continued. “And I don’t want young people to feel the same way that I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.”

He added, “I wanted to make my family proud. I wanted to make my nation proud of me. And part of me didn’t know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay…But I’m telling not only Australia, but I’m telling the world, that I am.”

Ian later tweeted, “To Everyone who has sent a message of support I sincerely Thank you!”

In case you didn’t know, Ian won three Olympic gold medals and two silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In Athens, in 2004, he was awarded one bronze, one silver and two more gold medals.

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Ian Thorpe

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  • Akari

    I’m sick and tired of people coming out. It’s 2014 geez. We shouldn’t focus on his sexuality, but his skills and talents. Give me a break

  • Effy

    @Akari: Agreed. Who cares what gender you like? Cool your gay or straight, it doesn’t really freaking matter.

  • HM

    So happy for him!

  • as

    I thought it was clear from the times he was still swimming and winning. And yes, who cares, I’m coming out as straight!

  • Kara

    I agree with you all, “coming out” is so old! It’s nothing worth talking about, who cares if he’s gay?! I don’t think anyone thought he was straight anyways…

  • Wow

    It’s an issue if you’re endorsing family products and conservative suits are choosing between you and a “traditional” straight olympic hero.
    Good for Ian.

  • Ross

    It is a big deal nowadays because not everyone is as open minded as you so yeah, we care that athletes come out because sports are always seen as masculine/feminine and the gay community is thought to be less capable of achieving the same as straight people do just because of stereotypes and society standards. You as straight don’t have to fear about losing connection with friends or loved ones because you don’t know if they’re accepting of that and also you don’t get disgusting looks on the streets if you are seen with your partner ,so when the day comes where there’s equality then people will stop coming out and you won’t be annoyed as you are now.

  • Jack S.

    @Akari: I hear what you’re saying however in my opinion if more celebs come out as being gay, that might just help the younger teens who are struggling with their sexuality…..13, 14, 15, 16, and 17……which would help them know they are not alone.

  • Jack S.


    Bravo, Ross!!!

  • tim

    I have to agree with Ross. However Ian took too long to come out and it almost appeared like it’s not relevant anymore.

  • Jack S.


    He may have taken too long but who is to judge when is the right moment for someone to make that jump? Everyone is different. I didn’t come out till my late 30′s…….reasons are mine and mine alone.

  • Comical

    Although I know who he is…didn’t know anything about his personal life. Honestly, I always just thought he was gay. I was actually surprised to realise that he was carrying on as straight for all this time…. and people believed it!

    Love is love…glad he’s free to find someone to love openly now.

  • ugh

    so sick and tired of this crap
    no one cares – quit being drama queens, gay community
    get over yourselves

  • Ella

    To anyone telling Ian, or any other celebrity/athlete/personality who chooses to come out publicly, to “get over it” and “who cares” – It’s not about you. In fact, most of the time it’s not even really about THEM. It’s about the minority groups who need people to look up to.

    These men and women who make a public expression of their sexuality are no different to the celebrities and public figures campaigning for the “It Gets Better” cause. The fact is there are people out there – of all ages, sizes, genders, races, preferences, whatever it may be – who benefit from watching someone else overcoming adversity, and surviving. Thriving, even! Having someone let them know that you can be exactly who you are and, despite the inevitable haters and a-holes, you will be okay and people will continue to love you.

    If this admission stops even ONE teenage boy or girl from descending into the spiral of self-hate and shame caused by the overwhelming pressures of our society, then it has a place in the news. YES it’s 2014 – The admission of sexual preference realistically shouldn’t still be news-worthy, but until the shaming, slurring, attacking and general intolerance stops for good, we need these people. They’re as brave as any other human who stands up to hate and discrimination in search for self-acceptance and love. At least they did it publicly, trolls of the internet. Would love to see you take the same leap.

  • Ella

    Also – I’m an Australian, and I think it’s important for Americans to realise we have a very different culture and the pressure to be a “real Aussie bloke” (whatever that means) it’s frighteningly common. Not that the rest of the world doesn’t have it’s own view on how a “real man” should be, but Australian men have a tendency to take the slurs and discrimination to unacceptable levels disguising them as just mucking about or having a laugh. It’s not humour, it’s not teasing, it’s shaming. And it’s what makes these barriers harder to break down. Our country is incredibly proud of everything Ian has achieved in our name, and this just another example of why we think he’s a hero and a role-model.

  • Catching Fire

    I am happy for him. Habe a real life and be happy.

  • Shamu

    People who live their lives openly don’t have to come out. I’m beginning to think that “coming out” is being used as a career vehicle and that makes it ridiculous and sad.

  • JoeBlow

    @Ella: mate that’s only if you live out country way… Inner city no one really gives a toss

  • who cares

    non event

  • Ella

    @JoeBlow: Um, not true. I grew up part time in the north shore and part time in the east, working for over a decade all throughout the city. I have known plenty of discrimination all over. but good for you, you seem to be working real hard against that aussie stereotype, mate.

  • British Latin American

    @Ella: Is this why these days its rare to see a highly educated and/or upper-crust Australian man with a posh accent these days, yet so many of the women of similar status have posh accents?