Ian Thorpe
Courtesy of: Rob Shumacher - USA Today Sports
SYDNEY, Australia, July 12. IN a matter of hours, five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe will admit that he's gay in a television interview taped recently by renowned Australian journalist Sir Michael Parkinson.

Airing at 6 p.m. Australia time on Channel Ten Sunday, the interview will focus on several topics, but according to various media reports from Australia, Thorpe will open up about his sexuality after more than a decade of speculation.

Through his elite swimming career, which started at the 1999 Pan Pacific championships, Thorpe's sexuality has been questioned, and Thorpe had either responded vaguely or completely avoided the question. In his 2012 autobiography "This Is Me," Thorpe wrote that "I am not gay and all my sexual experiences have been straight. I'm attracted to women, I love children and aspire to have a family one day."

Thorpe has never been seen or photographed in a romantic relationship with a man or woman, further fueling the speculation. He stopped by the Sydney Olympic Aquatic Center during the 2002 Gay Games, prompting many to believe he was there in support of the meet. But he later said he was unaware that a swim meet featuring mostly gay men and women was taking place, and the appearance was part of a previously-scheduled media event.

Thorpe had been attempting to make a comeback in swimming, but failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics and the 2013 world championships. Though he has not done so publicly, it is widely believed that Thorpe has put aside his hopes of being a part of Swimming Australia's national team.

"It was like when Greg Louganis announced he was gay," said one American Olympian. "No one was really surprised and no one thought it was significant, except, of course, for Greg."

Former US Olympic Team co-captain, Josh Davis, was typical. "I was so proud to have raced right next to him when he was at his peak at the 2000 Games," Davis said. "He was always so kind and articulate on deck, in the ready room; he was the consummate gentleman. This [acknowledgement that he is gay] doesn't change anything."