Ian Thorpe has shared the heartbreaking reason why he did not want to come out as gay during the height of his swimming career.
The 41-year-old Olympian, who came out in 2014, told the The Daily Telegraph Tuesday that he kept his sexuality hidden because he didn’t want any “distractions” from his sports career in the early 2000s.
‘I had to swim in the Olympics and I had to win. I didn’t want anything to be a distraction for me. “I don’t want people to talk about this,” she stated.
‘So every time it’s alluded to that you might be gay, you think of it as something negative and, as a young person, you make it bigger than necessary. So I said no.’
Thorpe later said that he regretted hiding his sexuality for so long because it made the coming out process much more confrontational.
Ian Thorpe, 41, (pictured) has shared the heartbreaking reason why he didn’t want to come out as gay during the height of his swimming career.
‘I feel comfortable saying that I am a gay man. And I don’t want people to feel the same way I do. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.’
The five-time Olympic gold medalist came out as gay during an interview with respected English television presenter Sir Michael Parkinson in July 2014.
The athlete later revealed during an episode of This Is Your Life in 2022 that he decided to talk about his sexuality because he finally felt ‘comfortable.’
The Olympian, who came out in 2014, revealed to the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday that he kept his sexuality hidden because he didn’t want any “distractions” from his sporting career in the early 2000s. (Pictured in 2000)
‘I was always doing this interview with Sir Michael Parkinson. I had just come out to my family and my closest friends,” Ian told host Melissa Doyle.
“I had spent some time with [Sir Michael Parkinson] before the interview and I said, “You should ask me if I’m gay because I’m going to tell you I am.”
Ian continued: ‘I needed to say it. It was the first time I felt comfortable enough to put myself out there. “It was important for me to be myself.”
At that time, the athlete declared: ‘I have thought about this for a long time. I’m not heterosexual. And this is something that very recently, in the last two weeks, I’ve felt comfortable saying exactly that to the people closest to me.”
The Sydney native was first asked about his sexuality at age 16 and said he didn’t know it at the time, but he was “still gay at the end of the day.”
‘Yes, I lied about it. “Now I feel comfortable saying I’m a gay man.”
He also said he wished he had come out sooner because his family and friends supported him.
The five-time Olympic gold medalist came out as gay during an interview with respected English television presenter Sir Michael Parkinson (left) in July 2014.