2022 COMMONWEALTH GAMES
- Friday, July 29 – Wednesday, August 3, 2022
- Birmingham, England
- Sandwell Aquatic Center
- Start Times
- Prelims: 10:30 am local / 5:30 am ET
- Finals: 7:00 pm local / 2:00 pm ET
- LCM (50m)
- Meet Central
- Event Schedule
- Entry List (PDF)
- Live Results
Multi-Olympic medalist Kyle Chalmers of Australia has already collected two relay gold medals to add to his Commonwealth Games collection this week in Birmingham, but that hasn’t left him feeling positive about his experience so far.
After Saturday night’s action in the pool, the 24-year-old Adelaide native took to social media to speak out on what he calls ‘the hardest 12 hours in his sporting career.’
Chalmers reacted to a run of very personal headlines in Australia and British newspapers that read deeply into the team’s post-gold medal relay celebration.
For the freestyle ace, he ripped into the media’s post-performance interview which focused on his personal relationships and a perceived rift with teammate Cody Simpson over former girlfriend Emma McKeon instead of what transpired in the pool. Other headlines examined post-race reactions, trying to paint a picture of a rift in the team when Chalmers chatted with the Canadians after his team won gold in a mixed-gender relay that included McKeon.
Most of the more sensational headlines have come from tabloid newspapers such as The Sun.
Kyle blasted reports over a row with Simpsons and McKeon as a “load of s**t” in post-race interviews on Saturday.
Said Chalmers regarding last night at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, “I stand there and get interviewed for 20 minutes probably and not one thing was spoken about how we broke the Commonwealth Record and won the gold medal last night, not one thing about that. So for me it’s heartbreaking.”
He continued, “I have no reason to even stop and talk to media, I just do it to make people happy. Now it’s about voicing how the truth is and my actual feelings, but, yeah, I do and will consider what is next for me now.” (Daily Mail)
But the Aussie stood tall this morning on the blocks in Birmingham, contesting the heats of the 100m freestyle. Chalmers ultimately clocked a time of 48.98 to claim the 6th seed in a swim he described as anything but easy.
“It’s hard, it’s hard for me to stand up and swim this morning,” he emotionally told Seven today.
“It’s probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve had to face. I think media don’t realise, as I said on Instagram, how much impact it has on athletes and [their] mental health.”
Chalmers even went so far as to threaten to leave swimming if the headlines continued.
“Up until this point I’ve tried to just keep on moving forward but tonight I ask that you please stop writing these false headlines otherwise my time in the sport will be finished. I don’t swim for this, I didn’t get into the sport to have to deal with this. I swim to inspire and I swim because I love my sport and it gives me purpose.”
His teammate Madi Wilson also posted about the media on Instagram, though she didn’t name Chalmers specifically.
Full Instagram post from Kyle Chalmers:
“Tonight in Birmingham we should’ve been celebrating as a team for all the medals that were won in the pool. We capped off the night with a gold in both freestyle relay teams.
Instead, the line of questioning by the media decided to pick up where they started back in May after trials.
I don’t know how many more times it needs to be said by not only me but my fellow team mates, but these fake storyline’s are doing more harm than good.
I have dedicated my life to this sport and representing my country. I am your poster boy from 2016 and I’m your villain in 2022. And for no reason other than some people in the media needing to justify their pay cheques and knowing that false headlines create clicks and earn them money.
But do you know what it does to the humans you write about? It breaks them down little by little, and tonight is the breaking point. Up until this point I’ve tried to just keep on moving forward but tonight I ask that you please stop writing these false headlines otherwise my time in the sport will be finished. I don’t swim for this, I didn’t get into the sport to have to deal with this. I swim to inspire and I swim because I love my sport and it gives me purpose.
This could end my time in swimming, I hope you are all aware. My mental health right now from all of this over the months is at rock bottom, I really hope that pleases the key board warriors that continue to write false news. Thank you again for the people who love, care and support me. You’ve been there for me everyday through this journey.. and without you I would not have been standing here racing. I would have been retired, but you motivated me, inspired me and helped me get through this battle. For that I am forever grateful.”