Michelle Carter Optimistic, Undeterred After Opting Not to Defend Olympic Title

A surgically removed tumor on Carter's right ankle came back benign.

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This year’s Tokyo Olympics will be much different for North Texan Michelle Carter.

“Because I won’t be there,” she said. “It’s the first time in eight years.”

The defending Olympic gold medalist in shot put will sit this one out. It’s a decision she says she's come to terms with, in recent weeks.

“I realize that things happen and that’s a part of life. And you’ve kind of got to take things as they come,” she said.

It’s the attitude she decided to take when doctors discovered a tumor on her ankle.

"So they took it out and just cleaned up everything and they said they got the tumor out and sent it out to get looked at and the test came back negative for cancer so I’m very happy about that," Carter said.

While her ankle is on the mend, Carter said she did not want to take any chances.

“I feel better and better that I put my health first,” she said. “Great athletes, they can push through the hard times, they can push through certain kinds of pain. But then there comes a point when you realize, ‘OK do I push through this, or do I back off to take care of myself?'"

She’s now channeling her positive energy toward others chasing the dream. She was on the sidelines cheering for her teammates during the Olympic trials.

“Watching them have their moment of making their first and second Olympic team, it was just great to share with others something that I once shared with people as well and they watched me do it and now I get to watch them do it,” she said.

Carter said her faith keeps her going in this season. And to her fans, she said not to worry. She’ll be back.

“It’s sad because I didn’t really want to sit out,” she said. “But if I need to I know that during this time I’m being prepared for something else or something greater.”

We won’t have to wait another four years to watch Carter compete. Next year's World Athletics Championships will happen on U.S. soil and she said she's determined to be ready by then.

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