Swimming: Thorpe opens up over drink and depression
Sunday 14 October 2012
The Australian swimming star Ian Thorpe says he has spent much of his life battling "crippling depression", and often drank huge amounts of alcohol to manage his moods.
The five-time Olympic freestyle champion has opened up about his depression in his book This is Me: The Autobiography, written with Robert Wainwright, which is set to be released next month.
Thorpe reveals that he has never spoken openly about it before: "Not even my family is aware that I've spent a lot of my life battling what I can only describe as a crippling depression."
The 30-year-old, who became popular with British TV audiences this summer when he acted as a commentator during the BBC's Olympic coverage, claims he had striven to be perfect and had wanted to keep what he felt was a "character flaw" from his family.
While in training for the Athens Olympics, Thorpe decided to get answers and made a "clandestine visit" to a doctor, where he received help, including medication.
While he said he was not an alcoholic, he began succumbing to alcohol as time went on: "I used alcohol as a means to rid my head of terrible thoughts, as a way of managing my moods – but I did it behind closed doors, where many depressed people choose to fight their demons before they realise they can't do it without help. There were numerous occasions, particularly between 2002 and 2004 as I trained to defend my Olympic titles in Athens, that I abused myself this way – always alone and in a mist of disgrace."
Thorpe said he was able to hide his drinking from sports psychologists and coaches, and at times considered suicide.
He added: "It's taken me a long time to accept that being depressed wasn't my fault and rising above it is actually a strength of character."
Other themes touched on in his book include media intrusion and speculation about his sexuality.
"For the record," he writes, "I am not gay and all my sexual experiences have been straight. I am attracted to women."
Latest in Sport
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...