Ian Thorpe on coming out: “I can finally ‘breathe out'”

In his interview with Sir Michael Parkinson last night, Olympian Ian Thorpe explained that he feared losing a sense of his integrity by coming out as gay.

From the Guardian:

On Sunday night on Australian television Thorpe faced Sir Michael Parkinson to overturn what he said had become the “big lie” in his life.

“What happened was, I felt that the lie had become so big that I didn’t want people to question my integrity and a little bit of ego comes into this,” Thorpe said in a 90-minute interview on the Ten network.

“I didn’t want people to think that I had lied about everything.”

“I’m not straight 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.”

[…]

“I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man.

“And I don’t want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.

“I was concerned about the reaction from my family, my friends and I’m pleased to say that in telling them, especially my parents, they told me that they love me, and they support me. And for young people out there, know that that’s usually what the answer is.”

[…]

“I’m a little bit ashamed that I didn’t come out earlier, that I didn’t have the strength to do it, I didn’t have the courage to do it, to break that lie.

“But everyone goes on their own path to do this.”

It was only two years ago, in his autobiography This Is Me that he continued to deny the rumors that he was gay.

When the interview goes to air in Australia, Thorpe said, he can finally “breathe out.”

A transcript of Thorpe’s interview is here.

Ian Thorpe receives support from all over the world since coming out

From Ian Thorpe’s autobiography “This Is Me”

Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe comes out as gay

Australia's Ian Thorpe, Olympic and world champion swimmer comes out as gay

After years of personal struggles with depression and rumors about his sexuality that he called painful, Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe has come out in an in-depth interview with British interviewer Sir Michael Parkinson.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Thorpe made the admission in a tell-all interview with Sir Michael Parkinson, News Corp reports.

The interview, which will air on Sunday night on Channel Ten, has been described by Sir Michael as one he had wanted to do for a long time.

“Ian Thorpe has always been near the top of my list to interview. The reasons are obvious. Not many athletes can claim to be the best of all time. Ian can.”

Before he retired for the first time at the age of 24, Thorpe broke 22 world records and won five gold and three silver medals and one bronze medal at the Olympic Games.

In his 2012 autobiography, This is Me, Thorpe confronted the speculation head-on: ”For the record, I am not gay and all my sexual experiences have been straight. I’m attracted to women, I love children and aspire to have a family one day … I know what it’s like to grow up and be told what your sexuality is, then realising that it’s not the full reality. I was accused of being gay before I knew who I was.”

The interview, described as very emotional, airs Sunday night at 6pm on Channel Ten.