Aries Merritt was released from a Phoenix hospital two days after a successful kidney transplant, according to social media photos, and less than one week after he won a bronze medal at the World Championships with kidney function less than 20 percent.
“I’m pretty optimistic that I’ll be back running in a few weeks,” Merritt joked to the Arizona Republic in a video interview from the hospital. “Well not in a few weeks. I’m going to listen to what the doctors say.”
Merritt, the Olympic 110m hurdles champion and world-record holder, received a kidney from sister LaToya Hubbard on Tuesday, four days after his final at Worlds in Beijing.
Merritt was told less than two years ago that he may never be able to run again and announced he had kidney disease shortly before the World Championships.
Now, Merritt’s eyes are on defending his title at the Rio Games. He has four months before the indoor track season begins, and more than six until the outdoor season. The U.S. Olympic trials are in 10 months.
“If I can pull it off, it would be nothing but a blessing,” Merritt told Lewis Johnson on Universal Sports after finishing third in the Worlds final (race video here). “Special things happen in the Olympic Games, so if I make it, you never know what will happen.”