A new week, a new gay athlete. This week brings another swimmer, this time it’s Ian Thorpe.
As with our last two athletes, I will begin with a little bit about him, without too much focus on the awards and achievements of this talented athlete.
Ian Thorpe is a 33 year old Australian swimmer, who specialises in freestyle, but he also competes in backstroke and the individual medley. He has won the most Olympic medals of any Australian, with five medals under his belt. With three gold and two silver medals, he was the most successful athlete at the 2000 Summer Olympics and has 11 World Championship golds.
He was also awarded the Young Australian of the Year Award back in 2000.
Ian was born in Syndey to parents Ken and Margaret Thorpe, who were also deeply involved in sports. Strangely, Ian had an allergy to chlorine at a young age, so did not swim in his first race until a school carnival at age seven. Even then, he was forced to swim with his head above water due to his allergy, but despite this he still won the race.
Obviously, he eventually managed to overcome this setback and eventually progressed to the captaincy of New South Wales for the Australian Primary Schools Championships in 1994. 1994 seems to be the true beginning of his success, as he went on to win nine individual gold medals at the New South Wales Short Course Age Championship in September of that year.
Ian has the rather comical nickname of “Thorpedo” for his prowess in the pool.
In 2014, he came out as gay in an interview with Parkinson. He said at the time: “I’ve thought about this for a long time. I’m not straight. And this is only something that very recently, we’re talking the past two weeks, I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me, exactly that. I’ve wanted to [come out] for some time but I couldn’t, I didn’t feel as though I could. What happened was I felt the lie had become so big that I didn’t want people to question my integrity.”
This coming out was even more dramatic than usual, as up until this point, Ian had vehemently denied rumors regarding his sexuality. He has spoken very recently how the constant questions and pressure from the media and other people actually delayed his exit from the closet.
“If I had a little bit more time when I was younger I would have come out, because I would have been comfortable with that. And that’s why I think, we’re all making the same point, around why we don’t push people to come out. For me, when I did come out, it was amazing to have such a kind of warm embrace from people.”
It may have taken him a while, but he managed to snag quite the hearthrob as he is dating Ryan Channing.
Ian has seen a ton of success in his chosen field, with him racking up quite a few Olympic medals, as well as breaking several records. But, as with our previous athletes, we’ll discuss his achievements in a separate article.