Olympic men's 100 metres freestyle silver-medallist Pieter Timmers to retire from swimming after current season
Timmers had initially planned to compete at the Tokyo Olympics but the postponement by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic has derailed his ambition
Brussels: Pieter Timmers, the silver medalist in the men’s 100 meters freestyle at the 2016 Olympic Games, will retire from swimming at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old Belgian had initially planned to compete at the Tokyo Olympics but the postponement by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic has derailed his ambition.
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(Dutch version below) “The postponement of the Olympic Games towards my watertight plan, which had been mapped out years ago: to give everything once more at the Games, and then start a new chapter. My slogan has always been in the field of sports, ‘Do not be influenced by what you do not control, only focus on what you have in hand’. I want to keep that slogan now and don’t want to deviate from that plan. In other words: I will not be competing in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. It is a shame, but I am okay with it because I want to make my own choices and this was a well-considered decision. Living this topsport life isn’t easy. I have been giving myself 100% for years. Say no to a lot of things to be as good as possible in the pool, in the battle for hundredths. I ask a lot of my environment and myself. I barely see my friends and family, and look forward to finally seeing them, my daughter and wife, more. Could there be another year? If I really want to, yes, and if it is possible in a practical area. The latter is certainly not easy, because my plans were already set out from August 2020, I already bought another house far away from the Olympic pool,... Reversing everything is difficult to achieve, but above all: I wouldn’t feel good about that. And I only do something if I am 100% behind it. I can only try the best if everything is 100% right. Otherwise, I will not start. With me, it is all or nothing. Years and years I gave it my all, and I will keep doing that cause this is not a ‘I quit swimming’-story’. I will be competing at the European Championships in August and I truly hope that event won’t be cancelled as well. In october and november I probably will be competing at the International Swimming League. As such, my farewell is therefore only planned within 7 months. But after that, it’s time for a new chapter. I already want to thank everybody for all the support the last 10 years, and I will be thanking you and them again at the end of this year when this story really ends.”
“The postponement of the Olympic Games thwarts my watertight plan, which had already been drawn up years ago: to give everything once more at the Games, and then start a new chapter," Timmers said in a message relayed by the Flemish swimming federation.
“In other words, I will not participate in the postponed (Olympics) in Tokyo in 2021," he said. “It is a shame, but I am happy with it because I want to make my own choices and this was a well-considered decision."
Timmers hopes to compete in the European Championships in August if the event is not scrapped and wants to take part in the International Swimming League in the autumn.
“My farewell is therefore only planned within seven months," he said. “And then it is time to train, and for a new chapter."
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