Emotional Kyle Chalmers reveals ‘it took all my courage’ to swim after his shock press conference as he praises his teammates for their support…but Aussie star doubles down on claims he could walk AWAY from the sport
Swimming superstar Kyle Chalmers has doubled down on his criticism of the media, insisting he ‘took all his courage’ to compete on Sunday and revealing he was considering his future in the sport.
Speaking after winning gold in the men’s 4x100m freestyle 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 dating Chalmers’ ex-flame Emma McKeon, who won four gold at the Olympic Games last year.
Swimming superstar Kyle Chalmers has doubled down on his criticism of the media on Sunday
Rumours of the rift have dominated the back pages in the lead up to last month’s World Championship and have been the main talking point surround the Australian team’s success at the Commonwealth Games so far.
After qualifying for the semi-finals of the men’s 100m freestyle on Sunday night, the 24-year-old revealed just how draining the previous 24 hours had been from a psychological standpoint.
‘It’s hard, it’s hard for me to stand up and swim this morning,’ he told Seven in an emotional interview.
‘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 threatened to quit swimming if ‘false news’ continued to circulate that he was in a love triangle rift with Cody Simpson (right) and his ex-flame Emma McKeon
Chalmers made a series of fiery Instagram posts following his outburst at a press conference where he slammed the media and their negative coverage of him
‘For me it took all my courage and all my energy just to stand behind the blocks and swim this morning.
‘It’s not something that I wanted to do, it’s not something that I wanted to go through, to be honest with you, I’ve been so excited for this moment for such a long period of time and been working hard to be here for such a long time.’
He then reiterated the rumours of a frosty relationships between him and Simpson and the attention the media have devolved to alleged friction in the swimming team had led him to consider quitting the sport.
‘For how it’s unfolded, yeah, definitely makes me question my future in the sport,’ he added.
Chalmers continued his attack on social media claiming the negative attention had taken a toll on his teammates and stolen the spotlight from their achievements
‘I mean I didn’t enter the sport to have to deal with something like that. 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.
‘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.’
On Sunday, Chalmers claimed the negative attention had taken a toll on his teammates and stolen the spotlight from their achievements, accusing the media of ‘ruining it for us all’.
Chalmers qualified for the semi-finals of the men’s 100m freestyle on Sunday night
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 he was grateful for ‘those who work in the media that stand by my side and write the truth’.
‘They are the only ones I will be talking to from here on out,’ he wrote.
On Friday, Chalmers and McKeon were part of the Australian team that claimed gold in the 4x100m mixed freestyle relay but their body language was heavily scrutinised.
Australia were the only nation not to hold hands and raise them in unison pre-race, and Chalmers appeared to not join his other two teammates – William Yang and Mollie O’Callaghan in shaking McKeon’s hand after the race.
At a subsequent TV interview, Chalmers sat away from McKeon with Yang and O’Callaghan between the pair.