The Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, whose five-medal performance at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney captivated his country has revealed that he is gay.
In an interview with British broadcaster Michael Parkinson screened in Australia last Sunday night, the gold medal winner says that he has dated women in the past but that he is gay.
“I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man, and I don’t want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.”
“I was concerned about the reaction from my family, my friends, I’m pleased to say that in telling them, and especially my parents, they told me that they love me and they support me. And for young people out there, know that that’s usually what the answer is.”
Thanking everyone for their kind words, Ian tweeted:
To Everyone who has sent a message of support I sincerely Thank you!
— Ian Thorpe (@IanThorpe) July 13, 2014
Ricky Martin, Matthew Mitcham and Gareth Thomas and other figures also tweeted their support.
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) July 12, 2014
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) July 13, 2014
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) July 13, 2014
— Johnny Weir (@JohnnyGWeir) July 13, 2014
Whatever your opinion, remember that it's OUR reaction to Ian's news that determines how easy it is for the next gay superstar to come out.
— Matthew Mitcham (@matthew_mitcham) July 13, 2014
Much support to @IanThorpe. Another example of how your sexuality has nothing to do with your abilities in sports.
— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) July 13, 2014