Gergely Csurka, FINA Media Committee Member

Hungary’s Eva Risztov, gold medallist in marathon swimming at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, has announced her retirement from competitive swimming.

At the age of 31 you have to realise when the time has come to say good-bye” she said in a Facebook video posted on her timeline.

“Now I feel I can’t give any more to this sport and it’s better to begin the next chapter and start the civil life.”

She added that this time she would not come back from retirement what she had done almost a decade ago. In the first phase of her career she emerged as Hungary’s next prodigy and after a couple of success at continental stage she clinched three silver medals at the 2003 FINA World Championships in Barcelona.

However, she wasn’t able to deliver next year at the Athens Olympics and her utter disappointment led to an early and sudden exit from the sport at the age of 20. After years spent with various activities – which included a short spell in water polo – she made up her mind and returned in 2010, focusing primarily to open water swimming. She posted medal-winning performances at the 2012 Europeans (800m, 1500m), then came second in the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Setubal (POR) to book a spot for London in marathon swimming.

At the Games, she produced the swim of her life in the Lake Serpentine where she led the race from the beginning to the end and eight years later then expected she became Olympic champion. She stayed in the sport for four more years, won medals at the FINA World Cup circuit and at the Europeans, clinched another qualifying spot in Kazan 2015 for Rio but she couldn’t repeat her London performance at the Copacabana Beach.

Still, she remained one of the most popular athletes in Hungary where her comeback story from 2012 is considered one of the finest examples of will power, sacrifices and a journey ending in realising one’s childhood dreams.

Eva Risztov has already started working in sport management company and she plans to help young talents to find the pathways to success, to travel the journey they are dreaming of.