Three-time U.S. Olympian Nathan Adrian has been diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 30. He broke the bad news on social media Thursday, along with a message of hope for fans and an affirmation that he will continue training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, aiming to be back in the water in a few weeks:
“Life, like swimming the 100 free, can come at you hard and fast as you can’t always see who, or what, may be chasing you down. Recently, I went to the doctor as something didn’t seem quite right. At the very least, I still needed to get my flu shot so it couldn’t hurt. After a few tests and visits with a specialist, I unfortunately learned that I have Testicular Cancer. On the bright side, we caught it early, I have already started treatment and the prognosis is good. I will be back in the water in a few short weeks with my sights fully set on Tokyo! Along the way, I hope to share my journey in an effort to help break the stigma of discussing men’s health issues. I’ve realized that too often we tend to avoid these important topics, ignore the potential warning signs, and put off getting the medical help that we may need. As I told my family, I’ll be putting my public health degree to work a little sooner than I planned! But in all seriousness, I am keeping a positive attitude as cases such as mine are curable. I am extremely grateful for my family and friends, especially my wife, for their love and support. I am scheduled for surgery early next week and will provide an update soon. #menshealth#testicularcancer #standuptocancer”
Adrian has been a staple of the U.S. National Team for the last decade. He burst onto the scene at the age of 19, qualifying for the 2008 Short Course World Championships in April and winning gold in the 100 free and two relays. Later that year, he’d make his first Olympic team, qualifying for the 4×100 free relay and winning gold as a prelims swimmer.
Over the next ten years, Adrian qualified for every major U.S. travel team: long course Worlds in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017; the Olympics in 2012 and 2016; and the Pan Pacific Championships in 2010, 2014 and 2018. He’s won five Olympic golds, including an individual 100 free title in 2012. He’s also won 10 gold medals and 16 total medals at World Championships between long course and short course.
Last summer, at age 29, Adrian qualified for the 2018 Pan Pacs team, and also booked a spot on the 2019 Pan American Games roster for Team USA. Adrian has been a fan favorite and a fixture of the American 4×100 free relay for years, and also qualified for 2019 Worlds as a relay swimmer on the 4×100 free relay, though it’s still unclear whether he’ll compete this summer or not.
Adrian’s 2008 and 2012 Olympic teammate Eric Shanteau was also diagnosed with testicular cancer during his competition years. Shanteau was diagnosed at age 24, a week before Olympic Trials in 2008, but chose to delay treatment until after the Olympics. He came back to make the Olympic team again four years later at age 28.