Australia Olympic champion Rice retires

Wed Apr 9, 2014 1:15am EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's triple Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Rice announced her retirement from competitive swimming at the age of 25 on Wednesday.

Rice had a stunning Olympic debut at Beijing's Water Cube in 2008, winning the 200 and 400 meters individual medley titles as well as gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay, all in world record times.

She struggled with a shoulder injury heading into the 2012 London Olympics, where her failure to win a medal contributed to a disappointing Games for Australia.

She has not raced competitively since and on Wednesday announced on her website ( that she would not be returning to the pool.

"I knew that I really had to take the time for myself to get to the point where I knew 100 percent what I wanted to do," Rice said in a video posted on the website.

"And I never wanted to make a comeback, so the decision that I wanted to make was definitely final and coming to that point today and not continuing my swimming career is, it's sad.

"Like I definitely feel I'm losing a part of myself but I'm really excited for what's to come."

Rice hit the headlines as a 19-year-old when she set world records at the 2008 national trials in the lead up to Beijing, and her relationship with fellow swimmer Eamon Sullivan ensured she was a fixture in gossip magazines.   Continued...

Australia's Stephanie Rice smiles after finishing in third place in heat 5 of the women's 200m individual medley event at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 30, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Dalder