Ian Thorpe hopes coming out helped ‘tackle homophobia in sport’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The five-time medallist came out as gay two years ago, after years of media speculation about his sexuality.

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe has said he hopes his decision to come out as gay has helped tackle homophobia in sport.

Thorpe – who came out two years ago – says he stayed in the closet because he feared it would effect his career.

Ian Thorpe hopes coming out helped ‘tackle homophobia in sport’

However, he hopes future LGBT athletes will be able to be more honest about their sexuality without fear of homophobia.

“Sport should be a place where kids can be themselves,” Thorpe said.

“It’s 2016 and about time to end it.”

Earlier this year, the former Olympic swimmer spoke about the “responsibility” he now feels towards others struggling to come to terms with their sexuality.

“There’s an opportunity and a good responsibility I feel for young people who may be struggling with sexuality and to make it a more equitable place for us all,” he said.

Thorpe also spoke about the pressures of being a role model for the LGBT community, now that he has been honest about his sexuality.

“In some ways, there is an expectation that you will be the voice of this group, which none of us can do,” he said.

“It’s made up of many voices, and I’m very new to this. I don’t have the experience.”

Describing his love life as “stressful”, the swimmer says that he has struggled to find “normal people” in the dating scene, and has avoided using dating apps.

“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.”