Australian track cycling star Matthew Glaetzer is targeting two World Cup rounds next month, despite his ongoing cancer treatment, and the the two-time world champion remains focused on next year’s Tokyo Olympics after having surgery last week for thyroid cancer.
British cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy has joined Australian teammates in posting messages of support on social media for Glaetzer in the wake of the weekend’s news. Glaetzer was diagnosed late last month after neck soreness, which the London and Rio Olympian put down at first to strength training. But when the problem did not improve, tests showed the seriousness of the problem.
Glaetzer has to rest for the next few days, but he is still determined to race at the World Cup round in Cambridge, New Zealand from 6-8 December. Then comes the Australian round in Brisbane from December 13-15, a key stepping stone for the national track team in the buildup to Tokyo. After Brisbane, Glaetzer will go on a course of radioactive iodine tablets for his cancer treatment.
“It helps me to deal with it if I downplay it, obviously I know it’s very serious, but at the same time, it’s very treatable,” Glaetzer said. “So it is now about what’s the plan from here, how can I minimise its impact on myself as an athlete. Because I don’t want to stop being an athlete anytime soon, I love what I do. I’m not going to stop chasing the Olympics and trying to be the best in the world, it’s what I love to do.”
A deeply religious man, Glaetzer has drawn on his faith to help deal with his diagnosis and treatment. “I figured there’s nothing I can do about it, at this point worrying about it wasn’t going to make it better,” he said. “So I drew on my faith in God, I knew that he had it under control.”
Hoy tweeted that he was sending Glaetzer strength, adding “you’ll get through this mate”. Glaetzer is grateful for the strong backing he has. “The support network I have is incredible, the coaches, the medical staff and my church community who I told about the details have given me support,” he said.
“It was a really good tight-knit group of people who were close to me and that were supporting me through the secret stage and keeping it under wraps up until the surgery. It’s a pretty massive elephant in the room for me, so it helped me knowing my teammates knew, so if I got upset or if they saw something a bit unusual on a normal training day, they would know why and that helped me.”
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