February 5, 2011 / 12:25 AM / 9 years ago

Backstroker Peirsol calls time on glittering career

Aaron Peirsol of the U.S. looks at the scoreboard after winning the men's 100m backstroke at the Pan Pacific 2010 swimming championships in Irvine, California August 18, 2010. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/Files

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - American backstroker Aaron Peirsol, a five-time Olympic gold medallist, has retired from competitive swimming.

Peirsol, who still holds world records for 100 and 200 metre backstroke, told his hometown newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, on Friday he no longer had sufficient motivation.

“Retiring is such a strange word. I’m 27 years old. I’ve still got stuff to do,” Peirsol said. “But to do this right, you’ve got to give it 110 percent. I can’t give it 110 percent any more.”

Peirsol won five gold and two silver medals at the Olympics as well as 10 gold medals at the world championships and was the world’s premier backstroker for almost a decade.

He made his Olympic debut at the 2000 Sydney Games where he finished second to compatriot Lenny Krayzelburg in the 200 backstroke but went on to grab gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics — winning the 100 and 200 backstroke double plus the medley relay.

Having established himself as arguably the greatest backstroker of all time, Peirsol mined further Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Games in the 100 backstroke, where he set a world record. He also won another gold in the medley relay but was beaten by his team mate Ryan Lochte in the 200.

“It’s been almost 10 years of Aaron being the main guy on the planet,” swimming commentator Josh Davis, a former Olympic team mate of Peirsol’s, told the Austin American-Statesman.

Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Julian Linden; To comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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