Kyle Chalmers, who was only two months away from turning 18, became the baby-faced Olympic Champion at Rio 2016.
Over the next three-year period, the Australian swimmer focused on his health. He underwent several operations to correct a heart condition that had plagued him for a lifetime.
Chalmers found a new love after he recovered from his shoulder injury. He began tattooing.
Long before he became a professional, the swimmer wore minimal body ink: his Dolphins 761 number in Roman numbers on his wrist when he was 16 years old.
Chalmers, who made his Rio 2016 debut shortly after, followed Aussie tradition by adding the Olympic rings.
His pride was such that he added the number 31 – for his 31st Olympics on his right wrist.
The Olympic motto ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ – Latin for ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ – was inked on the same arm.
Chalmers, in 2021: “I have always wanted to tattoo myself.”
“I believe it’s because my mother always said no. I am even more determined to achieve my goals when I am told no. Sorry, Jodie.
“I went quiet about it for a bit (after Rio de Janeiro 2016). “Mum said no more, so I respected that for a little while.”
The hawk on the forearm of his arm was his most prominent tattoo. An earlier tattoo, a shark representing his hometown Port Lincoln, was relatively hidden.
“I have the coordinates of Port Lincoln.” “If you search for that, it will take you to the Pet Barn at Port Lincoln,” joked he.
“I didn’t look at the coordinates; I just got them from Wikipedia.”
After the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Chalmers’ tattooing journey will ramp up.
Chalmers revealed this week, “It’s been four years since the last photo, and I spent probably 60+ hours on the chair with Laz.”
They are so close that the tattoo artist from Adelaide inked the name on the swimmer’s arm this year.
Large pieces of flesh initially smothered Chalmers on the left side of his forearm.
A chain is attached to a lion to symbolize courage. It also represents the three surgeries to fix his supraventricular heart rate.
In his childhood, the condition that caused rapid heartbeats, shortness of breath, and fainting affected him. It continued to involve him in multiple meets even after he became famous.
Chalmers explained, “The broken chain was my heart holding me back.”
“Now that I’m a lion, the chain has been broken.”
He has a map of Australia and the Chalmers family crest on the opposite side of his arm.
Chalmers’ most painful tattoo was a cow’s head on his shin. He also added other designs, including a butterfly bee representing Muhammad Ali’s famous boxing quote and tributes to the swimming career of Chalmers.
He composed his most significant work in a few weeks between April and May of last year.
A crown with wings features over the words ‘Nur die Starken uberleben’ – German for ‘only the strong survive.’
Chalmers said in October that she had “learned German at school and then studied German after school.”
“That’s why it’s so special to me that I have a German tattoo.”
Chalmers took a break from his busy schedule to tour Berlin with a guide after last year’s Berlin World Cup leg.
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