LONDON (AFP) - Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington announced on Tuesday her retirement from competitive swimming.
The 23-year-old Briton won two gold medals at the Beijing Games in 2008 but could only muster two bronze medals at London 2012 as the host nation's swimmers managed a disappointing three medals between them in the pool.
She said now was the right time to quit as she could no longer keep pace with a younger generation of swimmers.
"I hate the word retire," Adlington said. "I love swimming but, as a competitive element and elite athlete, I won't compete any more. I'll always be swimming even when I am 90 years old."
However, Adlington added: "I certainly can't compete with that (younger swimmers). I can't do the same level of work, I need far more time for recovery.
"It's time. Beijing changed my entire life, everyone wanted to learn about me. It was the best moment of my entire career," insisted Adlington, who in 2008 won Olympic gold in both the 400 metres and 800m freestyle.