Queen Leisel announces retirement
16 November 2012
SWIMMING: A household name at just 14 years of age when she gained selection onto the Olympic team for Sydney 2000, triple Olympic gold medallist Leisel Jones has bid farewell to competitive swimming today, announcing her retirement in Brisbane.
The now 27-year-old, who returned from a record breaking fourth Olympic Games in London as a silver medallist in the 4x100m medley relay, won a total of nine Olympic medals including double gold in Beijing and individual silver in Sydney, in a career that has spanned more than a decade at the top.
Jones re-wrote the history books on a number of occasions, breaking 12 individual long course world records, and will be widely regarded as one of the best breaststroke swimmers to ever grace the lanes.
After three Olympic Games, five World Championships and three Commonwealth Games, Jones would again make history at the 2012 EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships as the first Australian swimmer, male or female, to qualify for a remarkable fourth Olympic Games – Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London.
Having first started swimming at the age of two for water safety, Jones says she is ready to face life post-swimming, especially after all the hard training, early mornings and elite level competition over the last 20 odd years.
“I have a natural competitive drive and I think that will carry through into whatever I do after swimming,” said Jones.
“Of course swimming will always be a big part of my life but I am extremely proud of my achievements. To represent Australia at four Olympic Games is something that is very humbling and each one holds different memories and significance for me.”
“I’ve basically grown up as a member of the Australian Swim Team, travelling the world competing, and I feel very honoured to have had so many wonderful opportunities and so much fantastic support along the way.”
Swimming Australia Head Coach Leigh Nugent said Jones’ attitude and enthusiasm over the years has been inspiring.
“Qualifying for her fourth Olympic Games was an outstanding achievement and just another milestone in a what has been a remarkable career for Leisel,” said Nugent.
“She is probably one of the fiercest competitors that we have ever seen, and her dominance at national and international level has been terrific. Leisel has inspired a whole generation of athletes with her success and hard work, and her contribution to swimming in Australia, especially breaststroke, will be her lasting legacy.”
Jones won nine Olympic medals including three gold, 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals and 11 in total, seven World Championship gold medals and a staggering 23 national long course titles, putting her on par with some of the greats of Australian swimming.