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Swimming: Pellegrini says she'll quit after Brazil Olympics

Gold medalist wants to be 'wife and mother'

20 March, 15:00
Swimming: Pellegrini says she'll quit after Brazil Olympics (ANSA) - Rome, March 20 - Former Olympic gold medalist Federica Pellegrini said Thursday that she intends to retire after the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, to pursue a quiet life as a "wife and mother".

"I want to swim in the Olympics of 2016, then I will leave," she said in an interview with magazine Grazia published on Thursday. Pellegrini made headlines when she took the gold medal in the 200m freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and went on to win world titles in the 200m and 400m freestyle in 2009 and 2011.

But things turned sour at the London Olympics in 2012, when she did very poorly, before regaining confidence last August by winning a silver medal in the 200m freestyle at the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona.

It seemed her swimming career had as many ups and downs as her romantic relationship with fellow swim star Filippo Magnini.

In Thursday's interview, she said she imagined a quieter future but was not sure Magnini would be in it.

"I want to be a wife, mother, with a quiet job," said Pellegrini, 25. "I am a very private person. I do not believe that, after my swimming (career), I'll still want to be in the spotlight," she added.

"I want to start grow. I want to become a woman". She said that as she matures and changes, she and Magnini - with whom she has had several high-profile break-ups - may no longer stay together.

"Both myself and Filippo are in the last years of our swimming career," she said.

"As we begin to define our idea of the future, we must understand what we like and what we do not," said Pellegrini, added that this kind of reflection can lead to unsettling questions.

"This causes a bit of turbulence and many doubts of the type, 'Am I'm investing time and love for nothing?'," she continued.

"Then we think 'forget it', but then we realize that we were wrong , and so we try again. We live day by day. Then we'll see". "For people like us, who have only ever swam, to not know what (life) will be after (sport) is very destabilizing".

Pellegrini also admitted that she has doubts about her physical appearance, and is uncomfortable in clothes that seem too feminine.

"I have a complicated relationship with my body," but Magnini has helped by reminding her that she is beautiful, she added.

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