Nine-time Olympic swimming medalist Ian Thorpe revealed he is gay in a TV interview set to air in Australia on Sunday, according to Australian reports.
Thorpe, the most decorated Australian Olympian ever, has been asked about his sexual orientation for years, since he became the home swimming star of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
“For the record, I am not gay and all my sexual experiences have been straight,” Thorpe wrote in his 2012 autobiography, “This Is Me.”
Thorpe won nine medals over the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, retired and attempted a comeback for the 2012 Olympics, failing to make the Australian team.
The swimmer recently admitted to struggles with depression and alcohol abuse and was in rehab and a hospital earlier this year.
“I think his sexuality is no one’s business but his own,” interviewer Michael Parkinson said, according to the Daily Telegraph. “But I think it’s one of the best interviews I have ever done in terms of [Thorpe] talking about depression and things like that.”
Thorpe’s admission brings to mind Australian 2008 Olympic platform diving champion Matthew Mitcham, who is also gay.
“I can totally understand how difficult this whole process has been for him,” Mitcham said, according to the Daily Telegraph. “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. The Australian public and media have a really wonderful opportunity to set an example for kids who are in Ian’s position.”
Phelps notches first win over Lochte since London Olympics
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Olympic Committee said Saturday that eight of the country’s athletes have registered positive in doping retests for the 2012 London Games.
The brief statement from the ROC did not give names or what disciplines the athletes were in, but said they came from three different sports.
It said further information would not be released until so-called “B samples” were tested that would confirm or contradict the retests. The International Olympic Committee stores Olympic doping samples for 10 years to reanalyze them when newer methods become available.
The announcement came amid heightened attention to the doping of Russian athletes.
The international track and field federation suspended Russia’s team from global competition, including the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, after a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report detailed state-sponsored doping. The IAAF is set to decide on June 17 whether to maintain or lift its suspension.
Earlier this week, Russian state television reported that 10 medalists from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including 2012 high jump champion Anna Chicherova, were among 14 Russians that tested positive in the reanalysis of their doping samples.
The IOC said Friday that 23 athletes from five sports and six countries had positive findings in retests with improved techniques on 265 samples from the London Games. The IOC did not identify the athletes, their sports or their nationalities. The current retesting program targeted athletes who could be eligible to compete in Rio.
The World Anti-Doping Agency announced this month that it has appointed an independent overseer for an investigation into allegations of state-sponsored doping in the Russian team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
In an interview published in the New York Times, Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian lab now living in Los Angeles, said that he switched tainted urine samples for clean ones at the doping lab used for the Sochi Games, with help from people he believed to be officers of the Russian security services.
U.S. Olympic track and field hopefuls compete in the biggest meet before the Olympic Trials at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday, live on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.
The premier annual international meet in the U.S., hosted at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, takes place five weeks before the U.S. Olympic Trials at the same venue.
The Pre Classic fields on Saturday include U.S. Olympic champions Justin Gatlin (100m), Dawn Harper-Nelson (100m hurdles), Aries Merritt (110m hurdles), LaShawn Merritt (400m) and Sanya Richards-Ross (400m).
International stars such as two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and Olympic 400m champion Kirani James of Grenada also dot the entry lists.
A full preview with start lists and highlight events to watch is here.
NBCSN will air live coverage Saturday from 3:30-5 p.m. ET. NBC will air live coverage from 5-6 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Live Extra will stream all 2 1/2 hours.
LIVE STREAM: Prefontaine Classic — 3:30-6 p.m. ET