Australian champion Kyle Chalmers has said he won’t stay in swimming long if ‘fake news’ continues to surround him.
Chalmers’ post-race press conference was cut short after he knocked out frictional reports between him and Australian Olympic legend Emma McKeon.
Chalmers swam a whirlwind final leg to help Australia 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 was quickly moved to swirling rumors 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 Australian star Cody Simpson, as it was first made public in May.
Chalmers, a 100m freestyle gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, lashed out at the suggestions, saying “it’s actually just 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 swimming pool, it emerged:
– Chalmers insisted he congratulated McKeon on the pool deck after their mixed relay victory.
— Chalmers said he and Simpson spoke regularly and would “chat tonight” after the South Australian superfish helped Simpson win his first-ever Commonwealth gold medal.
– The 24-year-old appeared to call a reporter a ‘keyboard warrior’.
– McKeon said she and Chalmers shook hands after the race; and
– Chalmers has said he will be stepping down from media engagements soon for medical reasons if things don’t change. He also suggested he might step away from the sport as a result.
His press conference was eventually cut short by a Swimming Australia media officer as the line of questions continued towards Chalmers despite requests for questions to be directed to teammate Yang.
Chalmers seemed to single out a reporter when explaining how the story had been portrayed.
“That’s not really true. That’s fake news,” I said.
“I can stand here and say everything positively now, but you’re probably going to go home and be a keyboard warrior.”
I said the team spirit within the Australian dressing room hasn’t changed and the team is still very ‘together’. He also said he and Simpson don’t need to be “reunited”.
“I say good luck to Cody, I say good job to Cody, I message him after the race,” he said.
“I do nothing but be as positive as possible. I support him on the team, but again people just want to clickbait the article.
He went on to say, “This is just fake news. It’s actually just cr**. It’s honestly a load of s***. It’s just not true.”
Chalmers said it had been an “honour” to run alongside McKeon as they won the first-ever Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 4x100m mixed relay.
He also said he was still battling mental health issues after briefly taking a break from the sport after the Australian National Championships in May.
“No matter what I look like I’m doing these days, the media just wants to get on board when I’ve done nothing but give my all to this country,” he said. .
“I get up and talk to you after every race. There will definitely be a time when I stop doing that, if that’s the case.
He said swimming was treated differently from athletes in other sports because he came back from his mental health hiatus and said “people still want to roast me”.
“For me, I really sat down after practice and thought, ‘Am I really going to continue in this sport?’
“Because, for me, I gave everything to this country. I did everything for my sport. I was so proud of myself at the trials, winning my 10th national title… and instead of focusing on you on the positives, you want to focus on the negatives again.
“The truth is, I won’t be here forever and you can enjoy it while you can. You can try and knock me down all you want, but there will come a time when I stop talking to the media.
Originally published as ‘It’s cr**’: Chalmers goes nuclear, press conference cut short after relay win