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Retired Olympic heroine Rebecca Adlington is relishing her next challenge

05 FEBRUARY 2013

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington, 23, announced her retirement from professional swimming this morning.

The Mansfield-born swimmer said, "It's been an amazing journey. It's been a lot of hard work but I've loved every second of it."

Having secured bronze medals in the women's 400m and 800m freestyle events at London 2012 to add her two gold medals from Beijing, she added, "I have achieved everything I wanted to."


  

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A break from her gruelling schedule post-London 2012 was always in the pipeline for Rebecca but she has now made the hard decision to hang up her goggles for good.

She had already said back in September that she would not swim at the Rio Olympics in 2016 , as she felt that at 27 years old she would be too old to be competitive.

She said, "My body simply can't do what it used to be able to do when I was in my teens. It seems right to focus on my other passions and set myself new challenges."

But Rebecca can't be kept out of the pool entirely. She will continue to be involved in the sport, encouraging children to learn to swim. She said, "I want my biggest legacy to be no child in Britain leaving primary school unable to swim 25 metres.

"It will be my biggest ever challenge in swimming. I never thought five years ago I would have four Olympic medals, so I know if you work hard and love something enough anything can happen.

 


She set herself high standards after victories in the 400m and 800m freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and she was visibly upset as she claimed third place on the podium at London 2012.

Her post-performance interviews hinted at a re-evaluation of her standing in competitive swimming. She said: "I wanted to achieve a little bit more at these Games and have not done that but, at the same time, have I got more to give? That's the question."

She has kept herself busy since the London Olympics. In October she cycled 280 miles in Zambia  raising £50,000 for Sport in Action with Olympic bronze medallist Jo Jackson, Commonwealth champion Ross Davenport and ex-swimmer Mel Marshall.

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