Type Ian Thorpe into Google and you get 751,000 responses. Type Ian Thorpe gay into Google and you get 120,000 responses.

I’m no Google-nerd but, if I’m reading those stats right, about one in six articles on the internet that relates to Ian Thorpe also relates to the on-going discussion of his sexuality.

Type Ian Thorpe Sydney Star Observer into Google and you get 133 responses.

This is not because we have written 133 articles about Ian Thorpe. It’s because the Star is regularly asked its learned opinion on Thorpie’s irregular gay-related comments.

In 2002 Thorpe said (to the ABC): [I am] a little bit different to what most people would consider being an Australian male. That doesn’t make me gay. I have an interest in fashion, I have interests in things most people don’t label as being part of the macho male thing.

When asked for comment, the Star Observer said: It’s perfectly cool now to be straight and have an interest in Armani fashion or pearl jewellery or Kylie Minogue -“ and why shouldn’t it be?

It’s great that Thorpe is now confident enough to address these rumours head on, and to do it in such a straightforward way. It could make him even more of a gay icon than he already is.

In 2004 he said to AAP: I have answered the question once [before] and I don’t think I will ever answer it again because, quite frankly, it is no-one’s business to know anyone else’s business.I am kind of flattered as well.

When asked for comment, the Star Observer said: I think that there is a level of interest in the gay community in Ian Thorpe regardless of whether people think he is straight or gay. The way that he said he was straight without getting defensive about it would have made people like him more.

Now, in 2006 Ian Thorpe says: People can think whatever they want to think and people will tell you black and blue that I am gay. There is no basis for what they are saying. It’s no big deal because that doesn’t affect any part of my life.

The Star Observer says: Oh, who fucking cares? Are we still talking about this?

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