2012 Olympic Champion Tyler Clary will undergo open heart surgery Friday, August 6.
Clary made the announcement on his Instagram account, explaining the reasoning behind the surgery. According to Clary’s post, he suffers from a “very leaky aortic valve”, which has caused his heart to operate at less than 70% efficiency for his entire life. The discovery was only made last October during Clary’s physical.
Clary, now 32-years-old, was the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 200 backstroke. Up until last week, his winning time of 1:53.41 stood as the Olympic record in the event. Russian Evgeny Rylov just took down Clary’s record in Tokyo with his own gold medal performance. At the 2012 Games, Clary also contested the 200 butterfly, coming in 5th overall with a time of 1:55.06.
Clary retired from competitive swimming in 2016 after placing third at the US Olympic Trials, failing to qualify for his second Olympic Games. After his retirement, Clary was planning to join NASCAR racing, originally targeting the Monster Energy Cup Series, which is set to kick-off this year. However, he is currently working at Northwest Mutual as an insurance representative.
According to healthcare company Lifespan, approximately 500,000 Americans undergo some form of open heart surgery every year.