Sep 21 2012
British swimmer Gemma Spofforth has announced her retirement, saying she "cannot top" the experiences she has had in her career.
The 24-year-old 100 metre backstroke world record-holder finished fifth in the event at this summer's Olympic Games.
Spofforth, who lost her mother Lesley to cancer in 2007, told SwimNews: "I have had a very turbulent career and I feel that I cannot top a home crowd in London or a world record in Rome (in 2009).
"I cannot top the experiences I have had and most importantly the friends I have made through the sport.
"When it comes down to it, the races and competition are not what will stay with me, the people and friends I have met and made will stay with me forever.
"I would love to thank everyone who has made this journey possible, specifically the unconditional support and love my dad has given me over these years, the patience my brother has shown with his world-travelling sister and the fantastic coaching I have received from each and every one of my coaches."
The former world backstroke champion also revealed her new career path would take her away from the pool.
She added: "I've started a new life. I'd like to work with under-privileged kids who need that structure in their lives, who need sport or something like that in their lives.
"To be able to create that avenue for the kids, one that I was so lucky to have myself because I had a fortunate childhood, is something that really motivates me."