Mack Horton has posted a tribute to the anonymous fan who alerted Swimming Australia of a suspicious mole on his chest.
The 20-year-old burst into the spotlight at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, winning the men’s 400m freestyle event on day one.
His “drug cheat” taunt to rival Sun Yang then went viral and saw the Aussie bombarded with social media abuse from angry Chinese fans.
But so much television time might have actually saved Horton’s life after one viewer spotted a mole on his chest.
That person – who remains anonymous – contacted Swimming Australia’s doctor and urged Horton to get a check-up.
Horton obviously did so, and took to social media to praise the observant viewer.
The swimmer posted on Instagram on Thursday.
“Shout out to the person that emailed the swim team doctor and told me to get my mole checked out,” he wrote.
“Good call. Very good call.”
A photo posted by uoʇɹoɥ ʞɔɐɯ (@mackhorton) on
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Horton’s mole was removed on Thursday in Melbourne.
Horton will be in action early next month, competing in a raft of events at the Australian short-course swimming championships in Brisbane. They begin on November 3.
Horton is listed to compete in freestyle events over 50m, 100m and 200m, the 50m backstroke and butterfly and the 100m individual medley.
A host of other Australian swimming stars including Kyle Chalmers, Cameron McEvoy, Mitch Larkin, Bronte Campbell and Emily Seebohm will also feature in the event.
‘Be familiar with your skin’
The CEO of Melanoma Institute Australia, Carole Renouf, says the Horton incident provides a timely reminder of the dangers of melanoma – and how important it is to regularly check your skin.
“It’s a little known fact that melanoma is the most common cancer for males and females between the ages of 15 and 39,” Ms Renouf told The New Daily.
“Melanoma is also the most common cause of cancer death for people between the ages of 20 and 39.
“We urge people to be familiar with their skin and the skin of their partner – that way they can notice any changes.
“We should be checking our skin every month and particularly looking for changes to existing freckles or moles in terms of size, shape, colour and if they’re itching or bleeding.
“With any changes or new lumps or bumps – go see your GP or a dermatologist.”
Ms Renouf said those spending extended periods in the sun this summer should “avoid the strongest period of the sun between 11am and 3pm, cover up with clothing, wear a broadbrimmed hat and use SPF50+ every couple of hours.”