Ian Thorpe, 33, hasn’t been living his life as an out gay man for very long, and for someone who’s shy and retiring, the idea of donning a leather g-string and joyfully romping through Sydney probably seemed like a little much.
There was much speculation about how Thorpe would spend his second Mardi Gras now that he’s ‘out’, but what a lot of the coverage fails to acknowledge is that just because a person is gay, doesn’t necessarily mean they develop a raging desire for body glitter and public nudity.
Thorpe didn’t attend the weekend’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, preferring to hang out at a private party for fancy vodka brand (who are they kidding? It all tastes like burning) Belvedere with his new boyfriend, model Ryan Channing, 26, and other friends in Paddington.
He chose not to join 30 fellow gay Olympians and Paralympians on an Australian Olympic Committee float organised by swimmer Daniel Kowalski.
Watch Ian Thorpe discussing bullying… Post continues after video.
Diver Matthew Mitcham told the Daily Telegraph beforehand that he would be really pleased if Thorpe joined them.
“It would be really good if he did,” Mitcham said.
“The last we heard of him in the media was he was having trouble adjusting to an ‘out’ lifestyle. It would be really great for him, but for someone as shy as he is, Mardi Gras is a pretty full-on event.”
Being on parade wasn’t the only thing Thorpie rejected Saturday night. He was photographed rebuffing the proffered pill a friend apparently fished out of his wallet.
Whether it was a Panadol or something less benign, Thorpe didn’t want it. Just as well, too, since the moment was captured by Sydney’s waiting paparazzi.
The former swimmer’s manager James Erskine issued a statement last night, saying Thorpe did not take any illegal substances.
“Ian didn’t take pills last night,” he told the The Daily Telegraph.