Belgian decathlete overcomes cancer to compete at Rio Olympics

• Thomas van der Plaetsen was accused of doping in 2014
• 25-year-old Belgian overcame testicular cancer en route to Rio Games

At the lowest point, when chemotherapy had turned Thomas van der Plaetsen bald and weak at 23, even his brother, coach and biggest fan, Michael, thought chances of a comeback were minuscule. Now, barely a year and a half later, he is heading to the Rio Olympics as the European decathlon champion and with a full head of hair.

Failing to get close to the medal stand at the Olympics won’t feel anything like losing gold. Just being back among the best, participating in the Games is already his biggest victory of all.

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