Former world swimming champion Ian Thorpe fended off rumors that he is gay upon releasing an autobiography Wednesday.
The 30-year-old and five-time Olympic champion has been forced to answer questions about his sexuality for years, and said it was hurtful 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 said the rumors derive from the machisomo-laden stereotype that has been applied to Australian athletes, and simply called himself a "nerd".
"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."
The book, entitled “This is Me”, gives readers a glimpse into the Australian’s battles with depression and how he thought about leaving the sport at the age of 20, when he was at the peak of his career.
At 17 Thorpe won his first Olympic Gold Medal, after exploding onto the international scene with his first world title two years earlier.
Later he became a national hero after capturing three of his gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, setting new world records in each of his events.
Thorpe defended his 400m freestyle gold in 2004 Athens games, and set an Olympic record when he took gold in the 200m freestyle.
He tried to make a run for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but ultimately announced his retirement in November 2006.