Stephanie Rice has announced her retirement from competitive swimming at the age of 25.
The three-time gold medallist took the world by storm in Beijing in 2008, setting three world records as a teenager, before failing to match the same levels of success at the London Games due to a shoulder injury.
After three shoulder operations, Rice made the decision to call it quits on a young career via her personal website.
“London was really tough,” she said of the decision in a video posted on her website.
“There were so many things that went wrong for me in that preparation and it was like I was trying so hard to make everything so perfect and everything went wrong.
“Coming off the Games, I really didn’t want to make a rash decision on my career and if I was going to keep swimming or not because I was still too emotional about the whole preparation that I’d just been through.
“I felt a lot of pressure to live up to everyone’s expectations and fulfil their answers, but I knew I had to take the time for myself to get to the point where I knew 100% what I wanted to do.”
A difficult run in London saw China’s Ye Shiwen demolish Rice’s 400m medley world record while the then 23-year-old was forced to compete in constant pain.
Even when not in the pool, Rice had a penchant for staying in the headlines. She was stripped of a luxury car sponsorship for posting a homophobic tweet after an Australian rugby win over South Africa in 2010 and won over a bunch of male fans by posting revealing swimwear photos on social media.
In other Australian swimming news, five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe is fighting two life-threatening infections.
The 31-year-old suffered the infections after a recent shoulder operation. Reports on Tuesday suggested Thorpe may lose the use one of his arms, however these have now been dismissed by the retired swimmer’s agent.
The ABC reports that Thorpe is currently hospitalised on an IV drip.
Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images