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Ian Thorpe: ‘Dating’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be’

Ian Thorpe: ‘Dating’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be’

It is not easy finding Mr Right.

In a candid interview with Sunday Style, 5-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe said, ‘Dating’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be.’

The 33-year-old said he is simply looking for someone who ‘must not be crazy’ and is ‘based in Australia’.

‘It’s an absolute mess out there! I’m like, “Where are all the normal people?” I’ve never really dated, so I’ve come in being almost completely blindsided by this.

‘I think if someone puts an effort into a date, then full points – it’s not like I’m a hard marker. But there are some nut cases. It’s just a bit weird.

‘But that’s the dating scene – I say it and I laugh and I’ve got a smile on my face, so it’s not that bad.’

Going for traditional courting methods instead of dating apps or websites, Thorpe has been on a few second and third dates, but has yet to develop any ‘relationship’. It is like being ‘up the creek without a paddle,’ Australia’s most successful Olympian said of his new life.

Asked if his fame is a help or a hindrance in meeting men, he joked, ‘I’ll use it as an excuse if I’m not doing well.’

It was not that long ago when the towering swimmer revealed in a 2012 autobiography that he had suffered from ‘crippling depression’. Last year, he checked himself into rehab.

‘In coming out, it’s like having a second puberty,’ said the man who was hounded by questions about his sexuality since the age of 16.

“I’m not talking about who I’m seeing; I’m talking about how I feel about life. It’s discovering things for the first time, or rediscovering them and being shocked at how it’s different.’

Thorpe said he has had ‘a really great year’ since coming out as gay to the world with TV interviewer Michael Parkinson in June last year.

‘There have been times when I thought, ‘This is not what I expected’, but throughout all of it, I’ve been really happy living my life with authenticity and honesty.

‘It’s not like everything’s been great because I came out,’ he added.

‘There have been ups and downs, but progressively I feel like I’m a lot more comfortable in myself, and I’m looking forward to the future, which is really nice.’