Moscow (AFP) - Russia's five-time Olympic synchrohized swimming champion Natalia Ishchenko announced her retirement from the sport on Wednesday, diving into the murky waters of politics instead, the R-Sport agency reported.
"I will not return to sports as an athlete," the agency quoted Ishchenko as saying.
"But I'm not going to leave synchronized swimming completely. It has been a considerable part of my life for a long time and of course it will always remain with me."
Reports said that Ishchenko, who won Olympic gold in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro, has been appointed as an acting deputy chief of Kaliningrad enclave's administration with responsibility for sports policy.
The 30-year-old also won 19 world titles and 12 gold medals at the European championships during her glittering career.
Tatiana Pokrovskaya, the head coach of Russia's national synchronised swimming team, said: "Natasha (Ishchenko) is our superstar. She was an extraordinary soloist, she performed excellent in duo and in the group.
"She's a very courteous and clever woman with a high IQ. I believe she will do a lot of good for the youth and sports in the Kaliningrad region."