Jamaica’s World Championship 400-metre relay gold medallist Novlene Williams-Mills appears in the nude in the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine’s Body issue, speaking about her battle with breast cancer.
The magazine will be out on July 7.
Williams-Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 a month before she participated at the Olympic Games in London. She decided to compete anyway coming away with a medal in the mile relay. She underwent surgery three days later.
In the interview, she said she felt betrayed by her body.
‘I work out hard, I eat right. I’ve done everything to keep a healthy body. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do none of that,’ she said. ‘And for this thing to come in my body and take control of it…,” she said.
‘You know when you tell a friend something and they betray you? That’s how I feel. Like this thing just stabbed me right in the back. Like it just didn’t care who I was. It just wants to take control of everything and didn’t ask permission. It didn’t know that I have things to do. ‘
The 35-year-old quarter-miler, who was third at Jamaica’s national championships earlier this month, intends to retire at the end of the season. In the magazine interview, she speaks about getting a double mastectomy.
‘Some experiences, when you get to the other side, you get back to the person you want to be. You look in the mirror and you see all these scars. This is a body that you’re used to so much and then one day you have all these scars on your body,’ she said. ‘And, you know, that’s your story. I had to be like, ‘This is who I am now. These are the scars that make me up.”’
Reconstructive surgery, she revealed, was painful and uncomfortable, and she had emotional hurdles to deal with. “Before cancer, I would think, ‘OK, to make me a lady, you have to have your breasts. You have to have this, you have to have that,”’ she said.
“Now I realize that what makes me a lady is this strong person that I look at every single day in the mirror.
“It’s the courage; it’s the strength; it’s the fighter that I have in me that when I wake up every single day, I live to fight another day.”