Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, a nine-time Olympic medalist (five gold), ended years of speculation on Sunday by revealing on Australian television that he is gay, according to an Associated Press report.
The 31-year-old had long denied rumors about his sexuality but said he recently realized the truth about himself.
"I'm not straight," Thorpe said. "And this is only something that very recently — we're talking in the past two weeks — I've been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that."
"The Thorpedo," as he was nicknamed, checked into a rehab facility in January, citing depression and alcohol abuse.
In his 2012 autobiography "This Is Me," he wrote: "For the record, I am not gay and all of my sexual experiences have been straight. I'm attracted to women, I love children, and aspire to have a family one day."
But on Sunday, he said: "I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay man. And I don't want young people to feel the same way that I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay."
- Chris Mascaro