Ian Thorpe's gay secret 'forced early retirement'

Last updated 12:27 18/07/2014
Ian Thorpe

WINNING MATES: Australia swimmers Grant Hackett and Ian Thorpe celebrate Olympic success at Athens 2004.

How did you 'come out'?

Share your stories, photos and videos.

Related Links

Courage for coming out awarded Michael Sam's courage to come out wins ESPY Ian Thorpe reveals he's gay 'Thorpie is still our idol'

Relevant offers

Other Sports

League convert Jarryd Hayne survives first roster cut at the San Francisco 49ers New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady awaits 'Deflategate' court ruling Another Commonwealth Games in New Zealand not on immediate radar of NZOC New Zealand women's eight into world champs final and closing on Rio Quiz: Test your sports knowledge - Sept 1 NZ Olympic Committee head Kereyn Smith ready to make most of hosting general assembly No decision yet for Jarryd Hayne but San Francisci 49ers coach says he's impressed New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams voted on to IAAF's athletes' commission Adrian Lewis beats Raymond van Barneveld to win Auckland Darts Masters Team New Zealand comes from behind to win America's Cup regatta in Gothenburg

Grant Hackett reckons former Australia swimming teammate Ian Thorpe retired early because of the emotional burden of keeping secret the fact he was gay.

''I believe this was the major factor that led Ian to wrap up his career in his mid-20s,'' Hackett wrote in a blog.

''The heights he scaled throughout his career were unprecedented, but there could have been a whole lot more to the CV of Ian Thorpe.''

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Hackett applauded Thorpe's courage to come out in a television interview with veteran British journalist Sir Michael Parkinson on Sunday, but claimed ''it wasn't a surprise to many''.

''It would've been unbearable to think of the emotional burden Ian has carried over the years,'' he said.

''I think the expectation of the public and media every time he competed, coupled with the lack of insight into dealing with his depression, and not feeling comfortable enough to open up about his  sexuality, created too much of a high pressured environment.

''Ian never said he disliked swimming - it was always the outside factors that contributed to his early retirement.''

Hackett added that very few people could appreciate the internal struggle Australia's most successful Olympian faced in having to lie about his sexuality.

''At the end of day, this is not my business nor anybody else's, however, the pressure that is placed upon high profile individuals and their sexual orientation seems outrageous,'' he said.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?

For sure. Cameron will knock him out.

It will be close but I think Cameron on points.

Meehan will knock him out. This is his last fight.

I'm tipping Meehan to win on points.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content