'Lucky man': Olympic great Michael Klim recovering in cancer facility

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Former Olympic champion Michael Klim is recovering from surgery to remove a cyst from his throat at the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, a cancer treatment centre in Sydney's inner-west. Pictures: Instagram/Getty Images
Former Olympic champion Michael Klim is recovering from surgery to remove a cyst from his throat at the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, a cancer treatment centre in Sydney's inner-west. Pictures: Instagram/Getty Images

Australian swimming great Michael Klim is in recovery after undergoing surgery at the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, a cancer treatment facility in Sydney's inner-west.

Klim, a member of Australia's gold-medal winning 4x100m relay team at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, reportedly underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his throat.

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The 43-year-old took to Instagram to post a photo of himself recovering in hospital, accompanied by girlfriend Michelle Owen.

"Another procedure done this time to remove a cyst from my throat," Klim wrote.

"Enjoying the pain relief."

In a video showing Owen helping the former Olympic champion drink through a straw, Klim wrote: "My nurse has arrived. I'm a lucky man." 

Klim was one of Australia's most high-profile athletes during a golden age for Australian swimming in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

He won two gold medals as part of Australia's highly successful 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle teams at the Sydney Olympics, as well as silver medals in the 100m butterfly and 4x100m medley relay.

Prior to the 2000 Games he won Bronze in the 4x100 medley at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and added a silver in the 4x200 freestyle relay at the 2004 Athens Games.

Klim is perhaps best remembered for his air guitar celebration after defeating the United States in the Sydney 4x100m relay alongside Ian Thorpe, Chris Fydler and Ashley Callus.

He told 7News last year that he decided to have 'a bit of fun and games' and the expense of US rival Gary Hall, having handed their American rivals their first ever defeat in the event.

Ashley Callus, Chris Fydler, Michael Klim and Ian Thorpe celebrate after winning Gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport
Ashley Callus, Chris Fydler, Michael Klim and Ian Thorpe celebrate after winning Gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport

“Gary Hall, who was the American speedster, he arrived in Australia and did an interview with Sports Illustrated, and he was sponsored by the Gibson guitars at the time," Klim said.

“He said, ‘The Aussie team will be the hardest to beat, but we’re still going to smash them like my Gibson guitars.

“We didn’t use that as motivation for the race, but once we got the victory, Chris Fydler whispered in our ear and said, ‘Let’s have a bit of fun and play the air guitar.’

“It was a great victory and a special moment for us.”

Klim retired from competition in 2007, before a comeback in 2011 saw him fail to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Petition calls for Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled

An online petition calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled has garnered almost 200,000 signatures in the past few days, as public concerns mount over holding the Games during a pandemic.

With less than three months to go before the start of the summer Olympics, already postponed for a year due to the coronavirus, questions still remain how Tokyo can hold the global event and keep volunteers, athletes, officials and the Japanese public safe from COVID-19.

In two days since its launch, an online campaign called "Stop Tokyo Olympics" has gathered more than 187,000 signatures, nearing its 200,000 goal and underscoring public concerns over holding the massive sporting event in Japan's capital.

There is increasing opposition to the Tokyo Olympics going ahead among Japan's citizens, with a petition to cancel the Games outright receiving more than 200,000 signatures. (Photo by Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images)
There is increasing opposition to the Tokyo Olympics going ahead among Japan's citizens, with a petition to cancel the Games outright receiving more than 200,000 signatures. (Photo by Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images)

Battling a fourth wave of the pandemic and struggling with a sluggish vaccination campaign, the Japanese government is seeking to extend states of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May, the economy minister said on Friday.

Opinion polls in Japan have found a majority of the public is opposed to the Games, which are due to open on July 23.

"We strongly call for the prevention of spread of coronavirus and protection of lives and livelihood by using available resources to stop the Olympics," Kenji Utsunomiya, the online petition organiser, wrote on his website.

Utsunomiya is a lawyer who has run several times for Tokyo governor.

But organisers have repeatedly said the Games will go ahead, unveiling detailed COVID-19 protocols for athletes and officials.

With AAP

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