German Olympic champion swimmer Britta Steffen announced her retirement on Friday via her management. The 29-year-old Steffen held world records in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle events and won two gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
In a statement released by her management, Steffen said in recent weeks she "doubted," whether she had the "necessary motivation and energy for one or even three more years in competition for gold medals and championship titles," with a view toward the Olympics in Rio de Janiero in 2016.
"I end my career in the knowledge that I belong to the best in the world," Steffen added.
Aside from her gold medal wins when at her peak during the Beijing Olympics, Steffen won two world and nine European titles, including top places in freestyle team events, several backstroke races, as well as numerous short-course trophies.
During her career, she won 19 German championship titles.
The president of the German DSV swimming federation Christa Thiel described Steffen on Friday as a "exceptional swimmer, who had shaped the sport of swimming in Germany in past years.
Steffen's world championship wins over the 50 meter and 100 meter distances in Rome in 2009 would "remain unforgotten," Thiel said, adding that she hoped Steffen would remain active within the DSV in "whatever function" she chose.
At the London Olympics in 2012, Steffen came fourth over meters. At the Barcelona world championships in August, Steffen finished 6th in the wormen's 100 meters freestyle event. It was won by Cate Campbell of the United States.
ipj/hc (sid, dpa, AFP)