2x Cancer Survivor. Competing with Perspective.
Eric Shanteau was on the verge of achieving his dream of swimming at the 2008 Olympics. Just one week prior to Trials, the competition that would determine who went and who did not, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. With support from his doctors, he decided to postpone treatment …to compete knowing he had cancer. He made the Team and while training for the six weeks leading up to the Games, he was tested weekly to make sure his cancer was not progressing. Six days after returning from the Games, he underwent surgery and the therapies needed to battle the disease. He then returned to the sport and to the 2012 Olympics, winning gold as part of the 4×100-meter medley relay.
Now retired and reflecting back on that time in a recent interview with Swimming World Magazine, Shanteau said, “I think a lot of the time when you get to a high level of competition, it becomes the most important thing in the world and it’s really not. There is a big life outside of sports. And this is also me talking (after being) retired for seven years. For me, (cancer) gave me a different perspective on the sport. And I think long term for the four years I continued after my diagnosis, it helped me a lot.”
Eric fought through a recurrence of his cancer in 2017, with treatment that included chemo and more surgery. Now a motivational speaker, Eric talks about learning from failure and seeing the silver linings in difficult circumstances, remaining committed to achieving your dreams and to “just keep swimming.”