Just over a year since he came out as gay to the world – telling TV interviewer Michael Parkinson, “I’m not straight” – Thorpe, 33, has finally made peace with himself.
And, despite a serious ongoing shoulder injury, the five-time Olympic gold medallist is stronger than ever.
“I’ve had a really great year,” he says later, as we settle ourselves at a table in the kiosk above the pool.
“There have been times when I thought, ‘This is not what I expected’, but throughout all of it, I’ve been really happy living my life with authenticity and honesty.
“It’s not like everything’s been great because I came out,” he adds.
“There have been ups and downs, but progressively I feel like I’m a lot more comfortable in myself, and I’m looking forward to the future, which is really nice.”
That future, he says, will be here in Australia.
Early this year, he settled in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and, after 10 years hopping between here, Los Angeles and Switzerland, has no plans to leave.
He’s also actively looking for someone to share that future with.
This is where things get tricky.
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