'Thorpedo' swims against the tide
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'Thorpedo' swims against the tide

Champion swimmer Ian Thorpe has been the target of jibes about his sexuality, but says he has learnt to live with it.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 13:56 IST

Australia's Olympic and world champion swimmer Ian Thorpe has always been the target of jibes about his sexuality, but says he has learnt to live with it.

In a candid interview with Australian media, Thorpe, 23, said he was often heckled by strangers in the street who yelled abuse at him, although it is not always aimed at his sexual orientation.

"It varies. It's not pleasant. It's a downer but you have to look at it from a logical point of view," he was quoted as saying in Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper on Friday.

"If someone screams a profanity at you and you don't know them, you just have to disregard it as you walk down the street and that's what I have learned to do."

Thorpe lives under intense media scrutiny in Australia and there are persistent rumours about his sexuality, which he says is ridiculous.

"They do (target his sexuality) to an extent," he said of the public. "But I think we're past that now. I think most people are over that most of the time.

"But that's not what people are always yelling abuse at me about.

"I don't know what it is, but it happens and it's ridiculous."

Thorpe, a multi-millionaire, describes himself as a "reluctant" celebrity and is looking forward to returning to relative obscurity once his career is over.

"I am not an attention seeker. I, by no means, want to be more famous," he said. "I live every day in the public eye and I don't get the luxury of switching it on and off."

Thorpe has revealed he may retire from competitive swimming after the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games.

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 13:56 IST