French swimmer Laure Manaudou to retire

18th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Fallen French swim star Laure Manaudou said in a newspaper interview published on Friday that she was retiring from the pool.

"It's decided. I'm stopping. It wasn't an easy decision to make," the 22-year-old told the daily Aujourd'hui en France.

"It wasn't an impulsive decision," she added, saying it had been coming for some time.

Manaudou became a national heroine at the 2004 Athens Olympics at age 17 when she took gold in the 400 metres freestyle which was the first ever for her country for a woman. She also won silver in the 800 metres freestyle and bronze in the 100 metres backstroke.

Despite going on to set several world records, Manaudou struggled to stay on top as problems with her long-time coach and an ugly breakup with her Italian swimmer boyfriend saw her picture splashed over the gossip magazines.

"I realised at this moment that swimming was no longer a pleasure for me," she told the newspaper.

She attempted to bounce back at the Beijing Olympics but failed miserably and fled the pool in tears.

Manaudou pulled the plug on her 2009 season in January saying she had lost the will to compete at the highest level.

"The hunger hasn't come back. Today I have other interests ... I just know that when I get up in the morning I don't feel like going to swim," she told the newspaper.

"I have all the titles. I have all that I wanted, even more than I dreamed of ... I have plenty of time to think about my future," she added.


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