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

Ian Thorpe, OAM, is the most decorated Olympian in Australia. He won five gold medals and eleven world championships between 1998 and 2004.

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He started swimming at the age of eight and although he was not coordinated in other sports, he excelled in the pool.

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

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

Champion: Ian Thorpe, OAM, is Australia's most decorated Olympian. He won five gold medals and eleven 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 height of 6 feet 4 inches and extra-large feet, which have been compared to fins, Thorpe became known as & # 39; Thorpedo & # 39 ;.

In November 2006, Ian shocked the swimming world when he announced that he would quit 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

However, in February 2011, he announced that he would return for the 2012 London Olympics, but was not eligible for the Australian team.

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

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

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

The 36-year-old has also been open about his depression, and said earlier that he had suicidal thoughts and used alcohol to handle his grief.

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

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

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

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