All week long, Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe has been answering questions about his sexuality from Australia’s newspapers, who seemed to have just discovered now that the diver has lived with his Brazilian housemate, Daniel Mendes, for the last three years and was photographed with him while the two vacationed together in Brazil, as friends do from time to time. This is a big deal in Australia, because they already have a gay Olympian (in the form of gold medalist Matthew Mitcham) and with water sports (not that kind) being the Aussie equivalent of baseball, the idea that two guys who spend their days running around in Speedos could be gay, is just one too many shrimp on the barby.
“Over the last few days there have been a series of press articles published, speculating about my friendship with Daniel Mendes,” the five-time Olympic gold medallist [sic] said in a statement published today.
“In the past, on several separate occasions, I have answered questions about my sexuality openly and honestly with the media … my situation in this regard has not changed.”
Thorpe, 26, referred reporters to remarks in an interview he gave shortly after his retirement in 2007 – comments that offended the gay community because they likened homosexuality to an illicit activity.
Thorpe said then that “the gay speculation, along with when I was accused of taking drugs in 2000, was an attempt to pull me down from the top.”
Other fun fact: After Thorpe offered as proof of his straightness the fact that he had a “long-term, long-distance relationship” with fellow swimmer Amanda Beard a few years back, she shot back via her agent:
“But Beard, 27, yesterday told her agent: “Take out the word relationship and put in the word friendship and that’s exactly what it was.”
Mr. Morganstien insisted Beard was never been romantically involved with Thorpe.”
“To her it was absolutely a long-term, long distance friendship and that’s all it ever was,” Mr Morganstein said.
You know, with a last name like “beard”, you’d think she’d be a little more accommodating.