Kyle Chalmers is still king.
The Australian superstar won gold in her favorite 100m freestyle at the Tuesday Morning Commonwealth Games (AEST) and put on a flamboyant celebration by touching the wall in 47.51 seconds.
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Chalmers put his finger to his lips a gesture that suggests he is silencing his critics.
The 24-year-old revealed after the race that the celebration was special, something he thought about even before he got to the starting pads.
“This is what I imagined, maybe a little more powerful celebration after the victory, but it was special,” he said.
“It probably means more than a punch or a muscle strain. I hope this is a strong signal.”
Chalmers was upset by the headlines who followed him to Birmingham, including himself, Emma McKeon and Cody Simpson. He criticized the media for focusing on the “bait” rather than the positive results in the pool.
The Rio Olympics gold medalist made some sad confessions after his Birmingham gold moment, saying he had a hard time enjoying his third gold medal in the competition as he kept berating the Australian media.
Chalmers has been waiting for this moment for a long time after being denied gold at the Tokyo Games by 0.06 seconds and at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games by just 0.13 seconds.
Chalmers’ saddest revelation was that he almost didn’t like it because of the headlines that followed this week.
“Winning is special, but unfortunately I think it’s hard to enjoy the moment when everything that happened is going on,” he told Channel 7’s Keith Campbell on the pool deck.
“That makes it a challenging time.
“I am grateful that I was able to block it enough to get up and win tonight. I hope this is a lesson for everyone and I hope no one else has to go through what I went through.
“Yesterday there were moments when I thought I would not continue. It just allows the media to win.
“As for me, I had to get up and do this not for myself, but for everyone in the house, everyone who goes through this kind of thing. I hope I can inspire and I will continue this
Chalmers said he couldn’t guarantee he would go to the Paris 2024 Olympics, especially if he gets embroiled in any future media controversy.
“I definitely want to. I dreamed of winning in Paris,” he said. “But if I have to keep going through this, I won’t live to see Paris, I know that. It’s too hard and it’s not what I swim for.
“I know I’m standing here bravely, but this really set me back a lot. I really don’t know what’s next for me. Right now I’m high on racing, but I’m sure that tomorrow when I wake up or at the end of the week when I get home, there will be many different emotions in my head, but if it’s a pool, I think I’ll be back (to that same training facility).
Chalmers also said he nearly burst into tears while talking to coach Peter Bishop minutes before the race.
“The last 48 hours have been hell, a roller coaster,” he said. “I even talked to my coach before the race and almost burst into tears, and I’m not an emotional person.
“I was hoping to take the next flight out of here, but I still have relay work for my country and I’m looking forward to it.”
Superfish said he hopes his success will inspire people back home in Australia who have similar mental health issues.
Speaking of Chalmers’ gesture after hitting the wall, Ian Thorpe said in a Channel 7 commentary, “That’s what Kyle wanted, I think his direction … was that he wanted to silence the critics.”
England’s Tom Dean won silver and Scotland’s Duncan Scott won bronze behind Chalmers in the final.
Originally published as The real reason for King Kyle’s daring act after the golden moment of the Commonwealth Games