Ian Thorpe, an Australian Olympic swimmer came out as gay. Thorpe is the youngest swimmer ever to represent Australia and holds the record for the most Olympic medals won for Australia. Since the age of 16, media speculated that he is in fact gay, Ian denied the rumors. As the Guardian reports, now at 31, Thorpe impacts the culture of swimming and LGBT acceptance by sharing his story as a gay athlete with the rest of the world.
"I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay man," Thorpe said. "And I don't want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay."
After coming out, Thorpe received a great deal of support and positive reinforcement from both the LGBT community in Australia as well as the sports world. Both communities stated that Thorpe's story would positively impact LGBT athletes and the community as a whole.
"I was concerned about the reaction from my family, my friends," Thorpe said. "I'm pleased to say that in telling them, and especially my parents, they told me that they love me and they support me. And for young people out there, know that that's usually what the answer is."
Watch Ian coming out here: