Ian Thorpe thanks fans after discussing sexuality

Ian Thorpe revealed his sexuality in an interview with Michael Parkinson. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Swimming champion Ian Thorpe has thanked supporters after he announced he is gay.

The Australian sports star came out during a television interview with Sir Michael Parkinson after having long faced questions about his sexual orientation.

After receiving an outpouring of support, the athlete - known as the Thorpedo - said today: "To everyone who has sent a message of support I sincerely thank you!"

The five-time Olympic gold medal winner had previously denied being gay, saying his relationships have been with women.