Rūta Meilutytė ends her professional sports career

Rūta Meilutytė
Rūta Meilutytė AP / Scanpix

Rūta Meilutytė, Olympic champion, has decided to end her professional sports career, the Lithuanian Swimming Federation reports. The 22 year old from Kaunas has gifted a number of spectacular moments to Lithuania. In 2012, she became Olympic champion at the age of just 15.

The sportswoman informed the Lithuanian Swimming Federation of this decision, according to 15min.

“In the name of our entire community, I wish to thank Rūta for her massive contributions. Her achievements inspired not only us, but all of Lithuania. Her victories have become legendary and her resolve and dedication to the country only confirmed once again that despite being small in the world, we can achieve incredible victories,” LPF president E. Vaitkaitis says.

According to him, the federation was informed on May 21, that Rūta is ending her professional career.

Rūta was, is and will always be one, whose name has been entered into Lithuanian swimming sports history in golden letters. Whatever her decision, we must accept and respect it. As such, in the name of the entire federation, we wish her all the best in any new decisions she makes,” he says.

Rūta Meilutytė was forced to suspend her career for at least a year due to doping rule changes. The swimming federation hoped that she would return to the swimming pool following the suspension, however Rūta herself decided to bid farewell to her sports career.

Hardest decision in her life

According to Rūta Meilutytė, this decision was in the making a long time and is one of the hardest in her life.

“Thanks to swimming, I experienced a life I would never even have dreamed of before. I had the opportunity to see a large part of the world, meet and work with incredible people. It is a special experience and now I want to use the experience and skills I have obtained in a new distance, this time – beyond the swimming pool. I am ready to start a new stage of life. I thank everyone, who supported me on this path and not only,” the sportswoman thanked.

According to Rūta Meilutytė, she had to sacrifice her education due to intensive training at the swimming pool and she intends to return to studies.

“Up to now, I gave all of myself to swimming. I lived this sport from my early teenage years. Due to the intensive training regime, I postponed my studies and I intend to return to them now. I want to experience the simple things, grow and understand both myself and the world around me better,” the swimmer says.

A girl from Kaunas

Rūta, who was born in Kaunas, but departed alongside her brothers to her England-based father in 2010, Rūta achieved her most impressive victories in 2012-2014.

Having developed exceptional speeds at the Plymouth swimming pool in England alongside trainer John Rudd, she powerfully entered the swimming elite of the world.

The world first bore witness to the phenomenon of Rūta in London’s 2012 Olympics, where at the age of fifteen, she took an Olympic gold medal. Rūta was unsurpassed in the breaststroke 100 meter distance.

Rūta Meilutytė began to take European and world records in 50 and 100m breaststroke competitions. Due to her exceptional swimming talent, lightning fast reaction times and inborn strength, the Lithuanian swimmer still holds the 100m breaststroke short pool (25m) world record, achieved in Moscow in 2013.

Rūta Meilutytė became a real collector of titles and her races with her arch-rival Julija Jefimova would be especially fierce and tense.

After misfortune at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic games, where Rūta was left seventh, she took a break for a few months, changed a few trainers and sought the best place for living and training.

Having chosen Los Angeles, R. Meilutytė won two silver medals last year – the European Championship medal in Glasgow’s 50m pool in the 100m breaststroke competition and in the World Championship in China, in the 50m breaststroke competition in a 25m pool.

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