SYDNEY, Australia, October 31. IAN Thorpe, one of Australia's greatest swimmers, is touring his home country this week to promote his new autobiography, in which he publicly talks about dealing with depression, thoughts of suicide and alcohol abuse.
In the book, titled This Is Me, Thorpe writes that he started suffering from bouts of depression in his mid-teens, around the time he started becoming an international sensation in the pool.
“And at the time, I didn't know that it was depression and it wasn't until a little bit later that I actually went to seek some help,” Thorpe told Australian media this week. “I didn't actually have the words to put around what I was feeling, and I think a lot of young people struggle with that.”
Instead of using prescription medication to handle the thoughts of depression and suicide, Thorpe writes that red wine became his medicine of choice, particularly between 2002 and 2004. Through the ordeal, Thorpe managed to become one of history's best middle distance swimmers with Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004 and world records in the 200 and 400 freestyles. He retired shortly before the 2008 Olympics in the midst of rumors of doping, rumors that were quickly debunked.
Thorpe made a return to the sport in 2011 with a goal of qualifying for the 2012 Australian Olympic team, but failed to make it out of the semifinal rounds in the 100 and 200 freestyles. Now 30, Thorpe is still training in Switzerland with aspirations of competing at the 2013 world championships.
During his Australian media tour, questions of Thorpe's sexuality also were raised. Thorpe, as he as always done, quickly shot them down saying “The thing I find hurtful about it is people are questioning my integrity and what I say… that this is something that I would be embarrassed about, or I would hide. … The only part of it I find frustrating is that people think I'm lying.”
Thorpe's autobiography is available online through various retailers.