SYDNEY (AP)—Five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Ian Thorpe says he has had to fend off rumors about his sexuality throughout his career because he doesn’t fit the typical stereotype of an Australian athlete.
On the eve of the release of his autobiography, the 30-year-old Thorpe spoke about his long battle with depression and his frustration that he has had to constantly deny rumors he is gay.
Thorpe said being gay was not something he would be embarrassed about or would seek to hide. But he said he finds it “hurtful” that people don’t believe him and question his integrity.
He said “the only part of it that I’m frustrated with, is that people think that I’m lying.”
He told an Australian TV channel that he may be perceived as gay “because I don’t fit into the typical stereotype of what Australian athletes have been in the past. … I guess I behave differently, I like different things too.”