Olympic swimmer Eric Shanteau isn’t going to let testicular cancer stand in his way of winning a gold medal.
Shanteau, 24, who will swim in the 200-meter breaststroke prelims Tuesday morning in Beijing, was diagnosed on June 19, New Jersey’s Star-Ledger reported Monday.
“I’ve got it, I accept that, and I’m going to beat it,” Shanteau told the newspaper. “No question in my mind. I’m not worried about this affecting the rest of my life.”
Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, who helped cycling champion Lance Armstrong overcome testicular cancer, assured Shanteau he has better than a 95 percent chance of surviving the cancer, which is Stage 1.
Stage 1 means Shanteau has the slowest growing form of the disease. Doctors cleared him to participate in the Olympics after weekly blood tests and CT scans showed the cancer has not spread. After the competition, he will fly back to his hometown of Atlanta for surgery, the results of which will determine if he needs chemotherapy or further treatment.
Four years ago, Shanteau failed to qualify for the Athens Olympics. But the cancer has sharpened his focus, said the self-proclaimed over-thinker.
“It just takes the pressure off swimming,” Shanteau said. “If you ask any swimmer, when the pressure’s off, you swim faster. I mean, everybody’s ready. The person who wins is the person that deals with the pressure the best.”