Thorpe, the winner of five Olympic gold medals, came out as gay during an Australian TV interview with Michael Parkinson earlier this year. Find out more here.
In a new interview with GQ – who have named the Australian their ‘Man of Influence’ for 2014 – he reveals that he wishes he had been able to have the courage to be open about his sexuality earlier in his career.
“I’m a little bit ashamed that I didn’t come out earlier, that I didn’t have the strength to do it,” said Thorpe. “I didn’t have the courage to do it, to break that lie.”
He went on to discuss the pressures of being a role model for the LGBT community, saying: “The thought that young people are looking up to me, watching what I do and say closely, has always been strange for me.
“I’ve never really considered myself a role model, and at times I’ve made the wrong decisions, but I guess it’s comforting and flattering to know people care.”
Meanwhile, Ian Thorpe’s manager was recently forced to deny reports that the swimmer is dating Ricky Martin – find out more here.