HANGZHOU, Eash China - Luo Xuejuan, who won China's only swimming gold medal
in the Athens Olymic Games, announced retirement due to heart problems here on
Monday, some one and half years before the 2008 Olympics opens on home soil.
China's Olympic and world
breaststroke champion Luo Xuejuan poses with a certificate and an honor
cup during the press conference held to announce her retirement in
Hangzhou of Eastern China's Jiangsu Province January 29, 2007. Luo,
China's 2008 home arena hope in pool quitted because of problems with her
heart diseases. [sina]
Luo, three days after celebrating her 23rd birthday, told reporters at a news
conference held in her hometown that she still hopes to do what she can for the
"It has been seven years since I joined the national team, which I always
regard as my home. As an Olympic and world champion, I will try to make
contributions for the Beijing Olympic Games," she said.
Luo won the women's 50 and 100 meters breaststroke events at both 2001 and
2003 world championships. She captured the 50m title at the Athens Olympics in
2004, which was China's first Olympic swimming gold in eight years.
She has been plagued with heart problems since 2006 and stopped training last
November. Medical experts in Beijing and Hangzhou suggested that she should not
continue her professional career although the heart problem will not affect her
Luo will study international relations in China's prestigious Beijing
University. "I will work as hard as I did in swimming. Maybe I will get involved
in the Beijing Olympic Games in a different capacity."