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Eric Shanteau is a two-time Olympian and a London gold medalist. He is also a cancer survivor.
Shortly before the 2008 U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Eric was diagnosed with testicular cancer. While his doctors allowed him to delay treatment to compete in the trials, they were uncertain that if he made the team, he would be able to compete in the Beijing Summer Olympic Games.
Finishing second in the trials, knowing that he made the team should have been a moment of pure exuberance for Eric. Instead, it brought mixed emotions.
“Coming into [the Olympic Trials], having that Superman mentality of, ‘Nothing can hurt me. I’m the best swimmer in the world. I’m invincible,’ …and then really getting hit with a huge reality hammer the week and a half before Trials where I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The huge wall you have built up suddenly comes tumbling down.” He added: “All of a sudden, swimming isn’t important. You’re thinking about living.”
Click this link to watch a video of Eric telling his story: USA Swimming: Outside the Pool
Ultimately, Shanteau was able to compete in the games that summer. Upon returning home, he began his fight against cancer. Eric admits that while a cancer diagnosis is something he never expected, that season of life changed him for the better.
After returning home from the Olympics in 2008 Eric joined Lance Artmstrong’s LIVESTRONG foundation as a Global Envoy and a member of the Young Leaders Cancer Council. He serves as an advocate for the Foundation and works in broadening its reach, impact, and success in the fight against cancer, specifically among young adults.
In 2010, Eric launched the Swim For Your Life Challenge to benefit the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Together, with the support of some National swim team members and former Olympians, Shanteau is helping those who battle what he has already overcome.
Watch the video below from the 2011 Swim For Your Life Challenge:
Eric Shanteau is not only one of our own USA Olympians, he is a cancer survivor. Join Eric as he raises awareness about cancer.