- Required surgery after hip injury
- Wanted to keep the scare a secret
- Was forced onto the front foot
Australian Olympic swimming champion Ariarne Titmus had intended to face her toughest challenge to date in private as she battled a cancer scare.
Titmus underwent surgery earlier this year to remove benign tumors on her ovary, a procedure that could have ended the 23-year-old’s chances of one day becoming a mother.
It was a terrifying proposition and one she wanted to keep from the media and her fans.
However, once in hospital, she feared star-struck staff seeking selfies and autographs could lead to her condition being leaked.
So Titmus decided to get on the front foot and reveal her ordeal through her social media channels to take control of the narrative and share her experience openly.
Olympic swimming champion Ariarne Titmus posted this photo from hospital when she had surgery to remove tumours after suffering a hip injury
The world record holder and Olympic champion wanted to get on the front foot with her challenge so her ordeal could not be leaked to the media
‘I was told there was a risk, and that because the growth was so large that they could actually take the ovary as well,’ she said.
‘It was hard to put on that brave face, and I was going into something that was quite scary for me and I hadn’t verbalised how scary it was.
‘It wasn’t until I was in hospital when nurses were asking me for photos and asking me to sign things pre-op which, actually, I think is quite uncalled for.
‘I was there with my mum, and I was like, it’s going to get out that I was in hospital.’
‘I had never had surgery before and this wasn’t something to do with my sport, this was unrelated and could affect my life down the track.
‘I just wanted to normalise the conversation and women’s health, and I think that people forget that as an athlete you’re so worried about your body and how it trains and fuelling to train, and you forget about the other purpose.’
Titmus, now back to full health and fitness, was concerned star-struck hospital stuff would reveal she was in for surgery
The pool queen broke the shattering news of her scare to her followers on Instagram
Motherhood may be on the horizon for Titmus, but with her health concerns in the rearview mirror, her sights are firmly set on Paris 2024.
The upcoming clash among Titmus, 17-year-old Canadian sensation Summer McIntosh and American star Katie Ledecky is already generating a lot of anticipation as one of the Olympiad’s must-watch events.
Describing it as an ominous warning might sound cliché, but there’s no denying the forcefulness of Titmus’ message to her competitors as she shifts into competitive mode.
‘I truly believe I will be in my best physical and mental form for these Games next year,’ she said.
‘I truly believe that these can be my Games.’