SYDNEY — Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe reveals he is gay in an interview set to be broadcast Sunday, according to media reports, after years of denying rumors about his sexuality. The five-time Olympic gold medalist makes the revelation in an interview with British presenter Michael Parkinson due to be aired later Sunday by Australia’s Channel Ten, reports said. Australia’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper said the 31-year-old also describes his years of battling with depression in the emotional interview recorded last month. His decision to come out as gay attracted a flurry of supportive comments. Fellow Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice tweeted: “Thorpie is and always will be a superstar in my eyes.” Another tweeter said: “I’m sad that there are people — not just great sportspeople — who feel they have to hide who they are every day. I hope Thorpie feels free.” Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham, who revealed he was gay in 2008, said he could “totally understand how difficult this whole process has been for him.”
“I really hope this process gives him some peace and that the media and the public give him the same respect and the same overwhelming support I received in 2008,” he told the Telegraph.