Summer Olympics News: British Swimming Star Rebecca Adlington Ends Her Olympic Career

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2016 Summer Olympics: Can the U.S. Maintain Its Dominance in Men's Swimming?

British swimming great Rebecca Adlington, who won four Olympic medals in freestyle distance events, has decided to end her career prior to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Adlington said on September 22: "Rio is out of reach. I'll be 27 then, and swimming, especially for distance swimmers, is a young person's game. Do I want to carry on and not get any faster? The answer is no. If I was a sprinter, then I would go to Rio. But I don't have an ounce of sprinting in me, and that's why my Olympics are over."

Adlington finishes her Olympic career as Great Britain's best-ever female swimmer, and certainly the best-male or female-of the modern era.

The world's top women's swimmer in the 400 and 800-meter freestyles for a few years, she thrilled her fans at home and abroad by breaking the world record in the 800 free on the way to gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. Her time of 8:14.10 eclipsed the two-decade-old mark of American Janet Evans. She also captured gold in the 400 free in Beijing.

At the London Games, some younger competitors caught up to and passed Adlington in both events, relegating her to bronze-medal finishes in both the 400 and 800 freestyles. The most impressive newcomer was American Katie Ledecky, who earned her first Olympic title in the 800 free at age 15.

As for her future plans in swimming, Adlington is noncommittal about competing at the 2013 World Championships or the 2014 Commonwealth Games, yet is leaving the door open to participate in the 200 and 400-meter freestyles, but not the 800 free. She has also expressed a desire to help British swimmers as a coach or mentor through the Rio Games.

Related content: Olympic Flashback: A Look at the Career of British Swimming Great Henry Taylor

Patrick Hattman covered the London Games for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

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