“Who gives a toss?” Sir Michael Parkinson reveals what he told Ian Thorpe before he came out

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It was one of the most captivating interviews in recent memory and now Sir Michael Parkinson has lifted the lid on the sage advice he gave to Aussie swimmer Ian Thorpe before he came out.

Looking back, the 80-year-old recounted his conversation with the sports star to News.com.au.

“I said to him at the time: ‘Why the hell did you think that because you were gay that you had to keep it a secret? Who gives a toss?’”

Michael cites the attitudes were different in Thorpie’s heyday and that swimming was predominately a “butch sport.” The veteran reporter also believes Ian held onto his secret was because of guilt.

“Why did he waste all that time feeling cut off — unable to be honest with himself and his parents and everybody. I think it (the interview) purged him of a great feeling of guilt. It is an indication of how Australia has grown up … that he has been accepted.”

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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