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Champion: Ian Thorpe, OAM, is Australia's most decorated Olympian. He won five gold medals and 11 world championships between 1998 and 2004

Ian Thorpe, OAM, is Australia's most decorated Olympian. He won five gold medals and 11 world championships between 1998 and 2004.

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He started swimming at the age of eight and excelled in the pool.

He dominated mid-distance swimming, specialized in freestyle, but also participated in backstroke and the individual medley.

Champion: Ian Thorpe, OAM, is Australia's most decorated Olympian. He won five gold medals and 11 world championships between 1998 and 2004

Champion: Ian Thorpe, OAM, is Australia's most decorated Olympian. He won five gold medals and 11 world championships between 1998 and 2004

Ian achieved worldwide success at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, where he won three gold medals and one silver.

He won three gold medals at the 2003 world championships before landing two gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

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Aided by its 6 foot 4 inch length and extra large feet, compared to pinballs, Thorpe became known as & # 39; Thorpedo & # 39 ;.

In November 2006, Ian shocked the swimming world when he announced that he would withdraw from the sport at the age of 24.

Personal journey: in July 2014 Ian came out as gay. Two years later he debuted his relationship with Ryan Channing (left), his first public boyfriend

Personal journey: in July 2014 Ian came out as gay. Two years later he debuted his relationship with Ryan Channing (left), his first public boyfriend

Personal journey: in July 2014 Ian came out as gay. Two years later he debuted his relationship with Ryan Channing (left), his first public boyfriend

In February 2011, however, he announced that he would return for the 2012 London Olympics, but failed to qualify for the Australian team.

Since he quit sports, he has continued to work in sponsor and ambassador roles and has become a philanthropist.

In July 2014, after years of speculation, Ian came out as a gay person during an interview with British talk show host Michael Parkinson.

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He announced in 2016 that he had a date with model Ryan Channing, and earlier this year the couple confirmed that they were in the early stages of surrogacy.

The 37-year-old was also open about his depression and said earlier that he had suicidal thoughts and used alcohol to handle his worries.

Candid: Ian has been open about his depression in the past and said earlier that he had suicidal thoughts and used alcohol to handle his worries. Pictured on January 24

Candid: Ian has been open about his depression in the past and said earlier that he had suicidal thoughts and used alcohol to handle his worries. Pictured on January 24

Candid: Ian has been open about his depression in the past and said earlier that he had suicidal thoughts and used alcohol to handle his worries. Pictured on January 24

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