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Kyle Chalmers had admitted his gold medal triumph in the 100m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games is 'hard to enjoy' after the media scrutiny that has centred around his personal life in recent days.
One day after admitting he felt like flying home due to the overwhelming attention, Chalmers' victory was brute power as the Aussie led from start to finish.
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Chalmers had earlier raged over media reporting about his relationships with fellow high-profile swimmers Emma McKeon and Cody Simpson.
Chalmers dated McKeon last year before they split, with McKeon since moving on with Simpson.
Chalmers blasted media attention on a supposed 'love triangle' as fake news, which he said made him feel like departing Birmingham and reconsidering his swimming future.
It’s been another golden day in the pool for our Australian swimmers in Birmingham as Kyle Chalmers silences his critics winning his third gold medal in the 100m freestyle while Paralympian Matt Levy also won gold in his final ever race. pic.twitter.com/tKSeBsd2AH
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) August 1, 2022
Instead, the South Australian stayed at the Games and in Monday night's final was an unstoppable force, winning in 47.51 seconds.
England's Tom Dean (47.89) claimed the silver medal and Scotland's Duncan Scott (48.27) took bronze.
Chalmers now has three gold medals from the Birmingham Games, following earlier relay wins in the mixed 4x100m freestyle and men's 4x100m freestyle.
However he made the sad admission after Monday's final that he was struggling to feel happy about it.
"It's a bittersweet feeling for me," he admitted.
"Instead of enjoying the moment, it's almost a big sense of relief to be honest with you.
"I just hope no-one has to go through what I have had to go through over the last 48 hours.
"This last 48 hours has been hell. It has been an emotional roller coaster.
"Even speaking to my coach before the race, I almost started crying and I'm not an emotional person."
Chalmers added: "It is special to win but unfortunately I think it is hard to enjoy the moment when all that has happened has gone on.
“It makes it a challenging time.
“I am grateful that I was able to block it out enough to stand up and win tonight. I hope this is a learning point for everybody and I hope nobody else has to go through what I have gone through.
“Yesterday there were points where I thought I would not continue on. That just lets the media win.
“For me, I had to stand up and do it, not for myself but for everybody at home, everybody going through similar things. I hope I can inspire and I will continue this conversation.”
Kyle Chalmers' defiant message to critics
After touching the wall in first place, Chalmers sat on the lane rope and out a single finger to his mouth in a gesture to silence his critics.
“It’s something I’ve envisaged myself doing, probably a bit more of a powerful celebration after a win, but that one was a special one,” he said.
"That probably means more than giving a fist pump or a tensing of the muscles.
"For me, I hope that sends a powerful message."
He also admitted he wasn't sure about whether he would continue on to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
“I definitely want to. That’s been my dream to win in Paris,” he said.
“But if I have to keep going through a similar thing I won’t last until Paris, I know that. It’s too challenging and not something I swim for.
“I know I stand here bravely, but this has really set me back a lot. I really don’t know what’s next for me.
"Right now I’m on a high of racing, but I’m sure tomorrow when I wake up or at the end of the week when I get my flight home there’ll be plenty of different emotions that go through my head, but if it is the pool I think I’ll go back (to the same training set-up).”
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