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."
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way
Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online
The sound of Goodfellas mafioso Frankie Carbone demanding $250m in “damages” would be chilling enough on film, let alone in real life.
Latest in Sport
Anderlecht vs Arsenal match report: Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski pounce as Arsenal leave it late
How Real Madrid started copying Barcelona's old pass masters, and began reaping the rewards
Liverpool vs Real Madrid player ratings: Was Cristiano Ronaldo the star man? And how did Mario Balotelli fare?
Liverpool vs Real Madrid match report: Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema run Reds ragged at Anfield
Arsenal player ratings
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...
£40 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experience SEN Te...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: ICT/Business Studies ...
£250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...