One of the stars of the 2000 Olympics is calling it a career.
Swimmer Megan Jendrick, who won a surprise gold in Sydney as Megan Quann, announced her retirement at age 29 in an online letter.
“I have always been one to set goals for what I wish to achieve and after realizing that I have reached all of the goals I set for myself in the sport,” Jendrick wrote on acquaswim.com. “I have decided to officially retire as an active athlete on the national level to pursue new goals that I have set for myself on the ‘dry side.'”
Jendrick, then 16, predicted she would win gold in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Sydney Games. She kept a list of the top times in the event hanging on her closet door and would visualize races by holding a stopwatch in her hand while lying in bed. She was called precocious, and her boasting was compared to Muhammad Ali. She backed it up.
Jendrick swam an American record 1 minute, 7.05 seconds to beat Australian favorite Leisel Jones and 1996 Olympic champion Penny Heyns of South Africa. Jones would go on to become the most decorated Olympic breaststroker of all time. Jendrick also won gold as part of the medley relay.
Jendrick wanted to break the world record, but she never did. She failed to make the 2004 Olympic team, finishing third and sixth in the 100 and 200 breast at trials, where only the top two advaanced to Athens.
She came back to win silver in the 200 breast at the 2007 World Championships and make the U.S. Olympic Team in the 100 breast in 2008. She took fifth and won silver in the medley relay in Beijing.
Jendrick swam “for fun” at the 2012 Olympic trials, after giving birth to son Daethan in October 2011, and did not advance out of the preliminaries in the 100 and 200 breast.
“My days of competing in the Olympics may be behind me, but I’ll always love the sport of swimming and you will always be able to find me on deck somewhere around the world,” Jendrick wrote.