Swimming superstar Kyle Chalmers has redoubled his criticism of the media, insisting he had “must have gathered all his courage” to compete on Sunday and revealed he was considering his future in the sport.
Speaking after winning gold in the 4x100m freestyle men’s relay at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham overnight, Chalmers had threatened to quit swimming if ‘false news’ of a feud between him and teammate Cody Simpson continued to circulate.
Pop star Simpson has made a sensational return to swimming and is in a relationship with Chalmers’ ex-flame Emma McKeon, who won four golds at the Olympics last year.
Swimming superstar Kyle Chalmers doubled his criticism of the media on Sunday
Rumors of the split dominated the back pages in the run-up to last month’s World Championship and have been the main topic of conversation around the Australian team’s success at the Commonwealth Games to date.
After qualifying for the semi-finals of the men’s 100m freestyle on Sunday night, the 24-year-old revealed how tough the past 24 hours had been psychologically.
“It’s hard, it’s hard for me to get up and swim this morning,” he told Seven in an emotional interview.
“It’s probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced. I think the media doesn’t realize, as I said on Instagram, how much of an impact it has on athletes and [their] mental health.
Chalmers threatened to quit swimming if ‘false news’ continued to circulate that he was in a love triangle with Cody Simpson (right) and his ex-flame Emma McKeon
Chalmers made a series of fiery Instagram posts after his outburst at a press conference where he criticized the media and their negative coverage of him
“It took all my courage and all my energy to get behind the blocks and swim this morning.
“It’s not something I wanted to do, it’s not something I wanted to go through, to be honest, I’ve been so excited for this moment for such a long time and worked hard to be here for such a long time .’
He then echoed rumors of a frosty relationship between him and Simpson, and the media coverage of alleged friction in the swim team had led him to consider quitting the sport.
“For how it has developed, yes, I am definitely doubting my future in the sport,” he added.
Chalmers continued his attack on social media, claiming the negative attention had taken its toll on his teammates and stolen the spotlight from their performance
“I mean, I didn’t get into sports to deal with something like that. I stand there and get interviewed for probably 20 minutes and not one thing was said 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.
“I have no reason to even stop and talk to the media, I’m just doing it to make people happy. Now it’s about expressing the truth and my real feelings, but yes, I do and will consider what is for me now.’
On Sunday, Chalmers claimed the negative attention had taken its toll on his teammates, stealing the spotlight from their performance, accusing the media of “ruining it for all of us”.
Chalmers qualified for the semi-finals of the men’s 100 meter freestyle on Sunday evening
McKeon (left) and Chalmers (second from right) were part of the team that won gold in the 4x100m mixed freestyle relay at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday
He added that he was grateful to “those who work in the media who stand by my side and write the truth.”
“They are the only ones I will talk to from now on,” he wrote.
On Friday, Chalmers and McKeon were part of the Australian team to claim gold in the 4x100m mixed freestyle relay, but their body language came under heavy scrutiny.
Australia was the only country not to hold hands and raise them in unison before the race, and Chalmers didn’t seem to join his other two teammates – William Yang and Mollie O’Callaghan – in shaking McKeon’s hand after the race.
On a subsequent TV interview, Chalmers sat away from McKeon with Yang and O’Callaghan among the pair.