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#LGBTInnovators - Swimmer & Olympian Ian Thorpe

9th February 2016

#LGBTInnovators - Swimmer & Olympian Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe is an Australian swimmer who specialises in freestyle, but also competes in backstroke and the individual medley. He has won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian, and with three gold and two silver medals, was the most successful athlete at the 2000 Summer Olympics. At the 2001 World Aquatics Championships, he became the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship. In total, Thorpe has won eleven World Championship golds, the third-highest number of any swimmer. He was the first person to have been named Swimming World Swimmer of the Year four times, and was the Australian Swimmer of the Year from 1999 to 2003. His athletic achievements made him one of Australia’s most popular athletes, and he was recognised as the Young Australian of the Year in 2000.

In 2014, he was presented with a Doctor of Letters from Macquarie University in recognition of his extraordinary contribution for the sport, philanthropy and Indigenous rights.

When he came out publicly as gay in 2014 he stated “I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man. 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.” He added “I am telling the world that I am gay … and I hope this makes it easier for others now, and even if you’ve held it in for years, it feels easier to get it out.”

Leap Sports is spotlighting #LGBTInnovators in sport throughout LGBT History Month this February. We will celebrate a different LGBTI innovator in sport each day. LGBTI sports innovators include athletes, competitors, coaches, managers, community members, founders or co-ordinators of sports groups, someone passionate about their sport.

Got an LGBTI innovator in sport that you would like to shine a light on?

Use your imagination and join the conversation using the hashtag #LGBTInnovators on Twitter @Leapsports and Facebook facebook.com/leapsports

Find out more about LGBT History Month at www.lgbthistory.org.uk

Written on 9th February 2016.