It’s all coming up gold for Heath Thorpe!

The gymnastics star shined Sunday at the Australia Championships, winning the high bar competition. It’s the first time Thorpe has won the event, setting himself up nicely for the upcoming Olympic qualification.

“AUSTRALIAN CHAMPION on high bar feels correct,” he posted on Instagram. “Worked my a** off on this event over the last few years so super proud to FINALLY have this title to my name. That’s a wrap on a super successful nationals. Now it’s time to rest and recover before Olympic qualifications in exactly 2 weeks time!”

While Sunday was the apex of Thorpe’s weekend, it wasn’t the only highlight. He also won bronze in the All-Around, with a personal best score of 14.266 on the floor.

Last year, Thorpe captured Australia’s All-Around title, which put him on the map. He’s stayed there ever since, and his star has only grown.

Australian legend Matthew Mitcham, the first out Olympian to ever win gold, congratulated his fellow countryman on a successful competition. “Liked this before you even presented,” he commented. “Was not disappointed.”

College gymnast (and Queerty favorite) Sam Phillips responded with the requisite fire emojis. 🔥🔥🔥

When Thorpe competes for an Olympic spot at the continental championships May 25, it will be the culmination of a yearlong journey that’s included many twists and turns.

Despite winning the All-Around Championship last May, Thorpe was snubbed from the Australia’s team for the World Championships. 

He appealed the decision, but dropped his case when he lacked the financial means to continue.

“I am absolutely heartbroken to share that I have not been selected to the Australian team for the 2023 World Gymnastics Championships,” Thorpe posted at the time. “Despite my many results and improvements this year alone, including my recent Australian All-Around title, I will not be one of the five Aussie gymnasts afforded an opportunity to compete in the biggest Olympic qualifier come October.”

Never one to wallow, Thorpe found his way to the World Championships, anyway. He obtained credentials to work as a journalist, conducting interviews with some of the sport’s biggest stars.

One of his biggest fans, gold medalist Simone Biles, even gave him a special shoutout.

Following the World Championships, Thorpe decided to stay in Europe and train in Belgium, where he was living from October through April.  

Determined to qualify for the Paris Games, Thorpe participated in two training sessions per day with Belgium’s top gymnasts. He provided his followers with an inside look at his intensive regimen at the start of the year.

Appropriately, a track titled “Life gets hard” is playing in the background.

It’s apparent that Thorpe’s perseverance has paid off.  He also recently won his first ever international All-Around medal in Luxembourg.

While it’s still unclear exactly why Australia left Thorpe off of its World Championship roster, one theory is the male gymnastics scoring system. It doesn’t benefit Thorpe, who prides himself on artistry.

Australia struggled anyway, finishing 24th out of 24 teams. The point differential between No. 24 Australia and No. 23 Colombia was equal to Colombia’s No. 23 ranking and No. 2 USA.

While the scoring system is changing in a way that will help Thorpe, the Oceania Continental Championships will be judged under the old system. There is one guaranteed Olympic spot on the line for an athlete to compete as an individual.

In other words, if Thorpe wins, he’s in!

That would be the definition of a storybook ending. As Thorpe recently shared with CODE Sports, his Paris 2024 dream cost him $19,000 in legal fees, as well as his mental health. The World Championships snub, and subsequent challenges, almost pushed him away from the sport.

As an out queer athlete, Thorpe wants to inspire. His determination shows LGBTQ+ kids everywhere the power of staying motivated…even in the midst of deflating news.

“When I was younger, there were no queer gymnasts competing on the international level,” Thorpe said in an interview about his advocacy efforts. “So when I was coming to terms with my identity, I now realize how significant it could’ve been if there were one or even two people at the top level being themselves.”

With a strong showing in two weeks in New Zealand, Thorpe will come even closer to realizing his long-held goal. His faith has never wavered, and neither has ours!

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated