Ian Thorpe comes out

Swimming legend Ian Thorpe has come out as gay.

The 31-years-old five times Olympic gold medalist revealed his sexuality in an exclusive TV interview with Michael Parkinson on Australia's Network Ten channel.

He told the veteran interview that he had only felt comfortable in the past fortnight to talk about his sexuality openly with those closest to him.

"I've thought about this a long time," he said. "I'm not straight.

"I'd wanted to [come out] for some time, but I couldn't, I didn't feel as though as I could.

"What happened was I felt the lie had become so big that I didn't want people to question my integrity."

The swimmer's revelations come after years of public denial of rumours of his sexuality.
Thorpe has previously said that he found questions of his sexuality distressing.

In his 2012 autobiography he wrote: "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.''

Thorpe retired from swimming in 2006, due to waning motivation. He attempted a comeback in 2011 and 2012 but failed to qualify for the London Olympics.

Michael Parkinson said of the interview, which also deals with Thorpe's struggles with drink, drugs and depression: "I think his sexuality is no one's business but his own. But I think it is one of the best interviews I have ever done."