Kyle Chalmers on media battles and the success rollercoaster
The Big Deal podcast episode 20
Swimming sensation Kyle Chalmers joins The Big Deal podcast.
Sports stars live in a fickle world. Kyle Chalmers knows this better than anyone.
After stunning the world to win Olympic gold in the 100m men’s freestyle final in 2016 at just 18 years of age, the quiet country kid instantly hit celebrity status.
Continued domination at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and major international swimming events solidified Kyle’s reputation as Australia’s golden boy of the pool.
But Kyle quickly learned that those who celebrated his success could, and would, quickly turn on him. In the lead up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games, some sectors of the media put Kyle at the centre of a scandal, putting the blowtorch on him and his teammates, piling on so much pressure that Kyle’s mental health suffered to the point where he planned to quit swimming.
Instead of giving up, Kyle fought back. Using social media as a tool to share his side, he publicly pushed back on the narrative and those behind it, raising awareness about key concerns in the relationship between athletes and media.
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In this interview, Kyle reflects on his battle with the media, why he has no regrets, writing his retirement speech, and the tall poppy syndrome that sports stars face in Australia.
He also talks about the cost of not being prepared for his gold medal success, defining his brand and commercial approach, and life after swimming.
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