2012 Olympic gold medalist Cameron van der Burgh has announced that he has been battling a case of coronavirus-caused COVID-19. The 31-year old South African is the first elite swimmer to publicly reveal that they have been infected by the disease that has grown into a global pandemic.
Van der Burgh, who retired after sweeping the 50 and 100 meter breaststrokes at the 2018 World Short Course Swimming Championships, is now living in London and working at Anduran Capital Management, a large oil-focused hedge fund. discussed his symptoms on Sunday via a series of Tweets.
While many people, especially younger individuals of the relative health of van der Burgh, have been asymptomatic, van der Burgh said that his 14-day experience with COVID-19 is “by far the worst virus I have ever endured.”
He says that the most extreme symptoms (including severe fever) have ease, he is still experiencing serious fatigue and a residual cough. “Any physical activity like walking leaves me exhausted for hours,” he says in the Tweets.
He goes on to discuss the loss of conditioning that he has suffered and saying that the ongoing uncertainty about the Olympic Games is causing athletes to expose themselves to “unnecessary risk.”
The IOC announced on Sunday that it was putting in place a 4 week timeline to decide whether to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games that are scheduled to launch in late July or to hold them as planned.
A two-time Olympic medalist, including gold in the 100 breaststroke at the 2012 Olympic Games and silver at the 2016 Olympic Games, van der Burgh is the current World Record holder in the 50 and 100 meter breaststroke in a short course meters pool.
Van der Burgh’s Tweets
1/ Some personal thoughts/observations for athletes health,The summer games & my own experience with contracting Covid19.
— Cameron van der Burgh (@Cameronvdburgh) March 22, 2020
- Some personal thoughts/observations for athletes health,The summer games & my own experience with contracting Covid19.
- I have been struggling with Covid-19 for 14 days today. By far the worst virus I have ever endured despite being a healthy individual with strong lungs(no smoking/sport), living a healthy lifestyle and being young (least at risk demographic)
- Although the most severe symptoms(extreme fever) have eased, I am still struggling with serious fatigue and a residual cough that I can’t shake. Any physical activity like walking leaves me exhausted for hours.
- The loss in body conditioning has been immense and can only feel for the athletes that contract Covid-19 as they will suffer a great loss of current conditioning through the last training cycle. Infection closer to competition being the worst.
- Athletes will continue to train as there is no clarification re summer Games and thus are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk – and those that do contract will try rush back to training most likely enhancing/extending the damage/recovery time.
- Please, look after yourself everyone! Health comes first – COVID-19 is no joke!