Nathan Adrian: Life before gold medals

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Nathan Adrian said that his success won’t be on his mind at the end of his life.

Maybe that would have been him some years ago. But not now, not since his latest race against the clock to beat cancer.

“It has completely changed my outlook. At the end of my time here on Earth, whenever that may be, I don’t think that the first thing on my mind is going to be how many gold medals I’ve had,” Adrian told The Associated Press in an interview before his first race at the Pan American Games in Lima.

“I’m actually very confident of that, whereas you know, maybe five or six years ago, my answer to that might’ve changed a little bit,” said Adrian. “So, my priorities are still competing and achieving at the highest level, certainly. But to take a deep breath, or to try to enjoy the company of those around me, that’s something that I’m trying to be aware of as much as possible.”

Adrian was diagnosed with testicular cancer in December.

“My reaction was probably what most people experience, a little bit of everything, you know: being scared, being a little bit angry, just questioning why? Like wondering if I had called my mom enough,” he said with a smile.

“All sorts of things, and it was just like a roller coaster, like I couldn’t really control it, so I just kind of let it happen.”

Doctors told him the cancer had been caught early and he begun treatment. A month later, he underwent surgery, and he decided to continue to train for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.