Ian Thorpe: 'Media asking about my sexuality at 15 stopped me coming out sooner'
Ian Thorpe says that constant media speculation about his sexuality as a teenager prevented him from coming out sooner. The five-time Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer, who shot to fame at the age of 14 when he became the youngest male ever to represent Australia in international competition, told a panel audience at Sydney Mardi Gras film festival on Sunday (Feb 28) that he was first asked about his sexuality when he was just 15, the Guardian reports. “If I had a little bit more time when I was younger I would have come out, because I would have been comfortable with that,” Thorpe said. “And that’s why I think, we’re all making the same point, around why we don’t push people to come out. “For me, when I did come out, it was amazing to have such a kind of warm embrace from people.” After years of press and public speculation about his sexuality, Thorpe publicly came out in an Australian television interview in 2014, before later admitting he felt "ashamed" that he hadn't come out sooner. The 33-year-old - who is rumoured to be dating Australian underwear model Ryan Channing - was speaking as part of a panel of gay Australian sports stars Sydney’s Mardi Gras film festival, which was also attended by former Olympic champion diver Matthew Mitcham, who stressed the importance of having openly gay sports stars to send a positive message to gay youth. "...When more LGBTI athletes come out and they do start getting those big endorsements and they do start getting their faces on Kellogg’s boxes and stuff like that, that’s when younger kids are going to go oh, sexuality is not going to be a barrier to me being successful," Mitcham said. Kylie Minogue moves to block Kylie Jenner’s ‘Kylie’ trademark application Dustin Lance Black tells Tom Daley to ‘stop texting’ his fiancé Tom Daley