Bay Area

How Olympic swimmer learned key lesson after scary diagnosis

Bay Area
Nathan Adrian

Former Cal swimmer Nathan Adrian is, in the words of NBC Sports swimming analyst Rowdy Gaines, "the greatest American sprinter in history."

The 32-year-old has racked up eight Olympic medals, including five gold medals in individual and team events. He anchored the United States men's 4x100 meter medley relay teams in 2012 and '16, winning gold in London and Rio, respectively.

As he prepared to compete in his fourth Olympics, Adrian revealed he had to shift gears. On Jan. 24, 2019, Adrian announced on Twitter he had undergone surgery for testicular cancer.

"Basically once that happens, everything else stops mattering," Adrian told fellow U.S. Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad on NBC Sports' "My New Favorite Olympian" podcast. "I need to figure out what the heck I need to do about this to get myself healthy. That's basically that gear shift. Maybe you're cruising along in fifth gear, then all of a sudden you gotta downshift, man. When your health is in jeopardy, you just have nothing if you don't have that."

Just 30 and in his athletic prime at the time of his diagnosis, Adrian's experience demonstrated that testicular cancer could happen to anyone.

You can learn more about Adrian, his recovery and his journey back into the pool ahead of this summer's Tokyo Olympics in the video above and you can listen to the entire podcast episode right here.

Download and subscribe to the 'My New Favorite Olympian' podcast