Five-time Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe fended off rumors that he is gay upon releasing an autobiography Wednesday.
The book, entitled “This is Me”, details the Australian’s battles with depression and how he thought about leaving the sport at the age of 20.
Thorpe burst onto the swimming circuit at 15 when he won his first world title. Then at 17 Thorpe won his first Olympic Gold Medal.
The 30-year-old has answered questions about his sexuality for years, and finds the whole subject hurtful, especially when he was accused of lying.
"I accept there's nothing else I can say or do,” Thorpe said to AFP. "There'll always be people who are skeptical; people who want me to be gay, and others who'll try and use it against me.
"It should have been over and done with a long time ago but people have remained obsessed with it and need to find an explanation which suits their perspective."
Thorpe attributed the rumors to the stereotype that has been applied to Australian athletes.
"I behave differently, I guess, I like different things," he said to Reuters. "I'm a nerd, I'm just someone who just happened to be good at a sport as well... I like beautiful things in the world, I like the aesthetics of those things."
Thorpe became a national hero after capturing three of his gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, setting new world records in the 400 meter freestyle, the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay, and the 4 x 200 freestyle relay.
He defended his 400m freestyle gold in 2004 Athens games, and set an Olympic record in when he took gold in the 200m freestyle.
Thorpe tried to make a run for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but ultimately announced his retirement in November 2006.
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