'I have answered the question once (before) and I don't think I will ever answer it again because, quite frankly, it is noone's business to know anyone else's business,' Thorpe was quoted as saying. 'People are going to believe what they want to believe anyway.'
However, Thorpe, who won two gold medals at the Athens Olympics, said, 'I am kind of flattered as well.'
Speaking at a product launch in Sydney, he said, 'It is kind of not a minority group, but a group of people that there is a distinguishing factor that we don't have in common, and they respect and admire what I do and I think it is a very big compliment.'
According to the Herald report, Thorpe told ABC Radio in 2002 that he was 'a little bit different to what most people would consider being an Australian male. (But) That doesn't make me gay.'
He believed people had labelled him homosexual because he was 'articulate, had an interest in fashion and did not resemble the stereotype of the macho Aussie bloke.'
But Thorpe's latest denial was likely to win him more gay fans, said Stacy Farrar, news editor of Sydney Star Observer, a gay community newspaper.
'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 Herald quoted Farrar as saying. 'The way that he said he was straight without getting defensive about it would have made people like him more.'