The swimmer also uses the book to address persistent rumours about his sexuality, saying: “For the record, I am not gay”, adding that he would one day like to have a family.
The soon-to-be-released book This is Me: The Autobiography describes Thorpe’s struggle with what he describes as “crippling” depression, which led him at times to drink large quantities of alcohol.
“I even considered specific places or a specific way to kill myself but then always baulked, realising how ridiculous it was. Could I have killed myself” the 30-year-old wrote in an excerpt in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Known as the ‘Thorpedo’, the Olympic great retired in 2006 after ruling the pool from 1998 to 2004, winning nine Olympic medals and 11 world titles and setting 13 world records.
The new book reveals that Thorpe, under intense media scrutiny from his teens, often felt like “a performing seal” and retiring at the age of just 24 was about reclaiming his life.
“I realised how much enjoyment everyone else got out of my swimming. Australians go nuts when you win gold medals. It made people happy, but it made me miserable,” he said.