Swimming champion Ian Thorpe has come out as gay.

Ian Thorpe, 31, who won gold in the 2004 Athens’s Olympics has come out as gay in an interview with Sir Michael Parkinson. After years of denials it seems as Thorpe is finally comfortable with coming out.

Parkinson was the interviewer that finally managed to get the truth out of Thorpe, asking, ‘You’ve always said that you’re not gay. Is all of that true?’

Thorpe responded, ‘I’ve thought about this for a long time,’ Thorpe said.

‘I’m not straight. And this is only something that very recently – in the past two weeks – I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that.’

The swimmer who has be bombarded with sexuality questions since the age of 16 had never fully answer the question. He said, ‘I didn’t know at the stage, I was too young,’ he said.

‘I didn’t accept it in myself. I didn’t want to be gay. I was still gay at the end of the day.

‘Yes, I lied about it. I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man.’

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Taking to Twitter, Thorpe wrote to his 105,000 followers, ‘To Everyone who has sent a message of support I sincerely Thank you!’

Thorpe retired from swimming in 2012.

The support from celebrities from around the world has been coming in thick and fast, singer Troye Sivan who came out last year, said, ‘@IanThorpe you’ve made a gigantic leap for the LGBT community, the sporting community, and for Australia today. #OnYaThorpie :)’

While openly gay diving champ Matthew Matthew said he was proud of Ian saying, ‘Whatever your opinion, remember that it’s OUR reaction to Ian’s news that determines how easy it is for the next gay superstar to come out.’

Kath and Kim actress, Magda Szubanski, said: ‘So happy and proud for @IanThorpe Coming Out in his own time on his own terms. Wish you all things good darling boy. It’s fun & free Out here!’