Ian Thorpe, the Australian swimmer who is the country's most successful Olympic athlete ever, revealed in an interview that he is gay, according to The Sunday Telegraph.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the admission came in a sit-down with Sir Michael Parkinson, to be broadcast on Australian television on Sunday night. In the interview, Thorpe reportedly also details his well-publicized struggles with depression, which caused him to check into a rehabilitation facility earlier this year.
Thorpe has had to contend with speculation about his sexuality for years, even though he has dated women. The Sydney Morning Herald quotes a passage Thorpe wrote in his 2012 memoir "This Is Me": ''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 was the dominant athlete at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, winning three gold medals and two silvers for Australia. He continued to rack up victories at swimming world championships in the years afterward, and picked up an additional two gold medals at the Athens games in 2004. Soon after, he took a break from competitive swimming, then retired. He attempted a comeback in 2011 and 2012, but failed to qualify for the London Olympics.