ian thorpe
3 min read

Well, it was the secret that everyone seemed to already know. This time last year Former Australian Swim Champion Ian Thorpe sat down with Michael Parkinson in a TV-tell-all interview to tell the World he was gay, now 12 months on and Thorpie has said dating has been a nightmare for him.

The 33-year-old spoke with Sydney Sunday Style Magazine and explained that he has struggled to find “normal people” in the dating scene over the past year and he has avoided using dating apps.

“Dating’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be,” Thorpe told Sunday Style.


“It’s an absolute mess out there! I’m like, ‘Where are all the normal people?’ I’ve never really dated, so I’ve come in being almost completely blindsided by this.

“I think if someone puts an effort into a date, then full points – it’s not like I’m a hard marker. But there are some nut cases. It’s just a bit weird.”

Over the year, Thorpe was linked with a number of high-profile gay celebrities including Ricky Martin, but it seems the 196cm tall Thorpe has been as lucky as we all thought.

“I’ve mostly met great guys but, occasionally, I’ve met a couple of douche-y guys as well,” he explained while talking about dating apps.

“It’s enough motivation for me to want to settle down with someone away from that scene.”

Thorpe with Michael Parkinson, 12 months ago when he came out to the world
Thorpe with Michael Parkinson, 12 months ago when he came out to the world

Thorpe says once he decided to tell the truth about being gay, he wanted the world to know as soon as possible.

“The first person I told was a friend, but then it was like bang, bang, bang, next person – I did it all in a day,” he explained.

“I really woke up one day and I said, ‘I’m ready to come out. I’m over this.’ It’s as simple as that.”

Two weeks later, he gave the interview to Parkinson and made international news.

“I was asked, ‘Why don’t you just get on with it without being publicly out until you get used to it?

“But I kind of thought that wasn’t fronting up to being honest with myself. So I said, ‘No, I’m going to come out publicly; I’m comfortable with coming out to everyone.’”

Thorpe’s mum, Margaret, and dad, Ken, were surprised by their son’s revelation, but gave him love and support.

“In coming out, it’s like having a second puberty,” he said.

“I’m not talking about who I’m seeing; I’m talking about how I feel about life. It’s discovering things for the first time, or rediscovering them and being shocked at how it’s different.

“I used to be like this when I was a lot younger – it’s closer to my personality. I’m not as on edge about what I’m doing; I don’t feel as exposed.

“I guess it comes from being a lot more comfortable in myself.”

Thorpe has been “pleasantly surprised” at the public’s reaction to his coming out.

“People are almost a little aloof about it like they just don’t care,” he says.

“They wish me well, but it’s not important to them. I think it’s a very mature response and it’s the response I appreciate the most.

“It’s interesting how people could speak with such vitriol and passion on this issue only 10 years ago and now those voices are silent.

“I think it’s great that Australia is at a point where we’re discussing what the legislation around marriage equality would be.

“A lot of people are disappointed with how delayed it’s been but I think now we’re on the path of getting that decision right and that will happen very soon.”

Despite all of this, Thorpe says he has “had a really great year”, good on him.

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