March 19, 2009 / 5:01 PM / 11 years ago

Former Olympic swimming champion Yana Klochkova to retire

Ukrainian swimmer Yana Klochkova, a four-time Olympic gold medallist and world champion, announces her forthcoming retirement from competition during a news conference in Kiev, March 19, 2009. REUTERS/Konstantin Chernichkin

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine’s Yana Klochkova, winner of four swimming Olympic gold medals, announced her retirement from competitive sport on Thursday at the age of 26.

“It wasn’t easy for me to take this decision,” Klochkova told reporters in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

“But I’m sure you will agree that competition is very tough throughout the world. The results at the last Olympic Games speak for themselves.

“I believe that there is life beyond sport, and that it, too will be interesting, though perhaps a little different. I achieved all I could. Now I want to be a success in ordinary life too.”

Klochkova won gold in the 200 metres individual medley and 400 individual medley at the 2000 Games in Sydney and repeated the feat four years later in Athens. She also picked up a silver in the 800 freestyle in Sydney.

She made way for her younger team mates for last year’s Games in Beijing.

She said she would continue to work with a foundation set up last year to develop and popularise swimming in Ukraine.

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