Commonwealth Games 2022: Kyle Chalmers, Emma McKeon, freestyle relay win, press conference shut down
Aussie champion Kyle Chalmers says he won’t stick around for long in swimming if “fake news” reports continue to surround him.
Chalmers’ post-race press conference was shut down after he hit out at reports of friction between himself and Aussie Olympic legend Emma McKeon.
Chalmers swam a lightning final leg to help Australia to win gold in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay on Sunday morning (AEST), alongside William Yang, Zac Incerti and Flynn Southam, but the post-race interview was quickly shifted towards the swirling rumours of a so-called “love triangle”.
Chalmers dated McKeon for a few months, as was first reported in September. McKeon is now in a relationship with Aussie star Cody Simpson, as was first made public in May.
Chalmers, the Rio Olympics 100m freestyle gold medallist, lashed out at the suggestions, saying “it’s cr**”.
In an extraordinary end to Australia’s golden night, which also included a gold medal for McKeon, Shayna Jack, Madi Wilson and Mollie O’Callaghan in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay, in the Birmingham pool, it emerged:
— Chalmers insisted he did congratulate McKeon on the pool deck following their mixed relay victory.
— Chalmers said he and Simpson speak regularly and will “probably speak tonight” after the South Australian superfish helped Simpson win his first ever gold medal.
— The 24-year-old appeared to call one reporter a “keyboard warrior”.
— McKeon said she and Chalmers did shake hands after the race; and
— Chalmers said he will soon walk away from media commitments on medical health grounds if things don’t change. He also suggested he could walk away from the sport as a result.
Chalmers said it had been an “honour” to race alongside McKeon as they won the first-ever Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 4x100m mixed relay.
He also said he is still batting mental health issues after he also briefly took a break away from the sport following the Australian national championships in May.
“No matter what I seem to do these days the media just wants to jump on board when I’ve done nothing but give my all to this country,” he said.
“I stand and talk to you guys after every single race. There’s definitely going to be a time when I stop doing that, if that is going to be the case.”
He said swimming has been treated differently to athletes in other sports because he returned from his mental health break and said “people still want to roast me”.
“For me, I really sat down after trials and thought am I really going to continue on in this sport because, for me, I have given everything to this country. I’ve done everything for my sport. I was so proud of myself at trials, winning my 10th national title… and instead of focusing on the positives, you guys want to focus on the negatives again.”
“The truth is I won’t be around for ever and you can enjoy it while you can. You can try and bring me down all you want, but there will come a time when I will stop talking to the media.”
His press conference was eventually cut by a Swimming Australia media official as the line of questioning continued despite requests for questions to be directed to Chalmers’ teammate Yang.
… more to follow.
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