Olympic swimmer Madi Wilson reveals personal battles in lead up to Tokyo

Olympic swimmer Madi Wilson has revealed to SALIFE her personal battles, including developing an eating disorder, in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games trials.

Feb 02, 2023, updated Feb 02, 2023
Madi Wilson has faced many ups and downs during her swimming career, but has risen to be a leader and mentor in the Australian Olympic team. Photo: Sarah Reed

Madi Wilson has faced many ups and downs during her swimming career, but has risen to be a leader and mentor in the Australian Olympic team. Photo: Sarah Reed

Madi, who this week made national headlines when she went public with new boyfriend Adelaide Strikers cricketer Matt Short, says she was in the best shape of her life in the lead up to the selection trials, but COVID derailed everything.

“Within a matter of hours, I can still hear the news saying Australia was pulling their team from this year’s Olympics, so we just knew at that point that it was going ahead and we weren’t competing there,” Madi says.

“That was a really, really tough thing and then within a few hours, everything began shutting down.”

The dual Olympian, who now calls Adelaide home and trains under revered coach Peter Bishop at the South Australian Sports Institute, talks exclusively to SALIFE in February’s issue which is out today.

She reveals how Covid’s drastic turn of events led to an unhealthy time, mentally and physically.

“After being so busy and having all these people around, it’s hard to explain, but just the energy and the anxiety and everything that you have leading into the Olympics, and we were only a few weeks out from the trials,” she says.

“I felt like I had no control over my life and my body so a way to get that was to start controlling what I was eating, and that was just not eating.

“I thought in my mind if I eat a very, very small amount and I exercised a lot I would come back and it would be like nothing happened. I would just be in the best shape of my life again and I would be ready to go.”

Madi with boyfriend, Adelaide Strikers cricketer Matt Short. Photo: Supplied by Madi Wilson

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In a wide-ranging and frank interview in the magazine, Madi also discusses her rise to the top of Australian elite swimming, her role as a team leader and mentor for the younger swimmers and the media pressure they face as a team, particularly when it comes to their personal lives.

“In the past year I have taken a lot of the girls under my wing and I try to protect the babies of our sport as much as I can” Madi explains.

Last Monday night Madi felt the full glare of that media spotlight when she and Matt went public for the first time with their brand new relationship. The sporting couple attended the Australian Cricket Awards ceremony at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse, later posting photos of themselves on their public social media accounts.

On the night, Matt – who has opened the batting for the Strikers this Big Bash season – took away the coveted BBL Player of the Tournament award.

Madi tells SALIFE it can be difficult to maintain a relationship as an elite athlete but admits she’d love to start a family in the future and have “four or five children”.

“I love kids,” she says.

Read the full Madi Wilson story in February’s SALIFE out today at newsagents and selected supermarkets.




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