ian thorpeIan Thorpe has said that he is “ashamed” that he didn’t come out as gay earlier.

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.

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