Former Olympic shooting champion Michael Diamond may need a heart transplant and is selling a second gold medal to support his family.
The 47-year-old’s ambitions of competing at a seventh Olympics in Tokyo next year ended after heart failure left him in a Newcastle hospital.
According to New Idea, Diamond’s health problems started about a month ago when he suffered a shortness of breath with tests revealing his heart was only functioning at 15 per cent.
“It was bizarre and alarming,” Diamond told the magazine.
Doctors then told Diamond, who won gold at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and four years later in Sydney, he was in line for a heart transplant.
“I thought, ‘I’m too young for that’,” the father-of-three said. “This is the greatest fight of my life.”
“It’s a pretty sobering feeling to have your heart fail on you.
I do want to hang around – I want to see my kids get older and get married and I want to have grandchildren.”
Separated from his wife Cathy, Diamond has three daughters and is selling his Atlanta gold medal to support them after selling his Sydney gold two years ago for $72,000.
Diamond’s career went off the rails in 2016 following an alleged domestic dispute and high-range drink-driving charge.
He was then convicted for firearms offences, which carried a ban from holding a gun licence so he missed the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Diamond successfully appealed against the conviction a year later.
He felt the stress may have contributed to his heart issues.
“I was nervous and stressed out all the time,” Diamond said.
“I believe everything has snowballed to how I am feeling today.”
Diamond’s second trap shooting medal goes under the hammer on December 5 in Melbourne.
“I still have bills and I’ve still got to survive,” he said.
“I’ve got kids to worry about and I’m doing just that,”