Olympic Champion Ian Thorpe says he wishes he had had the courage to come out sooner as he is honoured as the 2014 “Man of Influence” at the GQ Awards.
Ian, 32, was honoured by being featured on the cover of GQ’s 'Man of the Year' edition as he told the magazine: “I’m a little bit ashamed that I didn’t come out earlier, that I didn’t have the strength to do it.”
Ian came out as gay in a special TV interview with Michael Parkinson in July this year.
The revelation came after years of speculation about the five-time-gold-medal-winning swimmer’s sexuality which lead to continual consternation for Ian. He says though that he wasn’t yet confident enough to reveal his true self when he was younger.
“I didn’t have the courage to do it, to break that lie,” Ian said.
After going public with the revelation, Ian was inundated with praise from fans and fellow celebrities and sportspeople for his courage and he revealed that he’s still adjusting to all the positive attention.
“(It) makes me feel a little nervous and uneasy, to be honest,’’ he told GQ. “The thought that young people are looking up to me, watching what I do and say closely, has always been strange for me.
“I’ve never really considered myself a role model, and at times I’ve made the wrong decision, but I guess it’s comforting and flattering to know people care.”
Since he first made the announcement, Ian has been keeping a low profile but he was all smiles as he stepped out at the Man of the Year Awards which was attended by visiting international star Dave Franco – the little brother to James Franco, who picked up the International Man of the Year Award.
It was Offspring star Asher Keddie though who stole the spotlight on the night as she took the walk down the red carpet as her opportunity to publicly unveil her baby bump, revealing that she is pregnant with her first child.
Other winners at the Awards included controversial mining mogul turned MP Clive Palmer, who received the Agenda Setter award while Cheyenne Tozzi picked up the Woman of the Year Award.
Left: Dave Franco, winner GQ's International Man of the Year Award. Right: Asher Keddie shows off her baby bump as she reveals that she is expecting her first "Offspring"