Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe denies he is gay and says he is ‘hurt’ when people accuse him of lying about his sexuality.
The world champion told British newspaper The Telegraph that despite ‘ticking all the boxes’ and persistent internet rumors he is straight.
‘It really has just got to the stage when I say, "whatever",’ he said.
‘It’s not a big deal for me. It doesn’t impact on my life what people think.’
The five-time Olympic gold medalist, the greatest total of any Australian, added that he doesn’t like it when people think he is being dishonest.
He said: ‘That’s what’s so hurtful in all of this. I don’t live my life as an open book, but what I do say, I don’t retract. That is me.’
Thorpe is currently writing his autobiography, in which he discusses the pressures of being a national sporting hero during his tender teenage years.
In the book, he also reveals how he dealt with being a gay icon at just 15.
The athlete has been a regular commentator for the BBC during the London 2012 Olympic Games, which came to a spectacular end last night (13 August).
The closing ceremony featured live music from some of Britain’s biggest names, including gay artists George Michael, The Pet Shop Boys and Jessie J.