Swimming star Becky Adlington from Nottinghamshire is retiring from the pool at the age of 23. She's decided to quit competitive sport because she feels she's too old to take on the very best.
Adlington won two gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Peter Bearne's report contains flash photography from the start.
Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington has thanked all those who have supported her throughout her career.
In a series of tweets and in a longer article on her website Rebecca thanked, "all my swimming teaches/coaches when I was young. You made it so much fun!"
In a statement connected to her retirement she also said, "To everyone in Mansfield who has believed in me from day one. It will always be my home. I'm a proud Mansfield girl!!"
Obviously I have announced the end of my competitive swimming career. Sad in many ways but also so exciting. New chapter of my life begins!
Thank you so everyone who supported me! Too many to thank in 140 characters so all said here... http://t.co/lebhW4IQ
Its been an incredible journey, one I will treasure and remember for the rest of my life. Thank you x
Britain's double Olympic champion swimmer Rebecca Adlington has retired from competition to concentrate on grassroots coaching,.Read the full story ›
Becky Adlington's unforgettable success in Beijing inspired a generation to get in the pool and swim. Her down to earth personality and remarkable career achievements have made her a national treasure. Becky's vision for the future of grass roots swimming in this country will create a wonderful legacy from one of our greatest Olympians. I have no doubt this vision will be pursued with the same drive, dedication and determination as Becky consistently displayed in the pool.
Michael Phelps, the 18-times Olympic gold medal winner, has paid his tribute to Rebecca Adlington's "fantastic career."
Our paths have crossed many times over the years - at meets and through a shared sponsor.
Her accomplishments speak for themselves, she has been a great representative for British Swimming and the sport overall. I congratulate her on a fantastic career and wish her all the best in the future.
There has been much speculation over the 23-year-old Olympic swimmer's future since she won two bronze medals at the London 2012 Games.
At a news conference today the Mansfield-born swimmer confirmed she would be retiring from her competitive career that has brought her Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth titles.
"I hate the word retire. I love swimming but as a competitive element and elite athlete I won't compete any more.
I'll always be swimming even when I am 90 years old." – REBECCA ADLINGTON
Rebecca Adlington's long term coach Bill Furniss has paid tribute to the swimmer as she announces her retirement:
Proud to have been Rebecca's coach the same qualities that made her the best ever will ensure success in everything she does
Olympians have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Rebecca Adlington and to wish her luck as she retires from competitive swimming.
Boxer Anthony Ogogo, heptathlete Louise Hazel and open water swimmer Kari-anne Payne tweeted:
@beckadlington All the best for your retirement Becks. You'll go down as an absolute legend in the pool. Good luck in the future love x
Rebecca Adlington has announced her retirement from competitive swimming but says she would like to stay involved in swimming and help bring on the next generation.
She said she wants to encourage children into the pool and hopes she can inspire youngsters to get into swimming.
"Would overtake every achievement of my career if I could get every child in Britain to swim."
The Olympic medallist went on to say Beijing 2008 was her career highlight. She also paid tribute to her coach Bill Furniss, saying her medals are his as well.
• Born on 17th February 1989 in Mansfield.
• Joined Nova Centurian swimming club at the age of 12 where she met her long term coach Bill Furniss.
• Adlington has won titles at Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth level making her the most successful British swimmer of the modern era.
• Adlington's victory in the 2008 Olympic 800m freestyle final broke swimming’s longest standing world record with a time of 8:14.10.
• Adlington became the first British swimmer to win more than one gold medal at a single Olympic Gamers since Henry Taylor in 1908.