After China announced their World Championship roster Monday, there was a glaring absence in the spot where Jiao Liuyang likely could have been.
The 2012 Olympic Champion in the 200m butterfly has been suffering from viral gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection that has impeded her training for some time now.
Absent from the 2015 Chinese Nationals, the stomach problem more commonly referred to as the flu has seriously put her entire career in jeopardy.
Not only will she not be at this summer’s World Championships, but sports.sina.com is reporting that rumors are circling that Liuyang may possibly retire. If she does choose to end her career, that would mean she will be unable to defend her Olympic gold medal from 2012.
According to sports.sina.com, Liuyang told reporters that she isn’t taking medicine for her condition. Instead, Liuyang said that they are following very conservative treatment.
A staple on the Chinese roster, Liuyang earned her first major international hardware at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, finishing second in the 200m butterfly on home soil.
Liuyang backed up that performance with a bronze in the 100m fly at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. In 2011, she won her first individual major international gold, winning the 200m butterfly again at home.
In 2012, Liuyang won gold in Olympic record timing, beating Mereia Belmonte Garcia of Spain by over a second. At the 2013 World Championships, she finished sixth overall in the 200m fly.