Defending World Champion and current World Record holder in the 200 freestyle Federica Pellegrini has said that she might retire if Italy goes back into strict lockdown on Sunday.
Pellegrini is currently under a personal quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus prior to her departure for Budapest to participate in the ISL, which included showing symptoms of the COVID-19 disease. She has been posting a ‘quarantine diary’ on her Instagram page for more than 1.2 million followers.
Italy has reduced its quarantine period for a positive test to 10 days, and with one negative test sufficient to exit quarantine instead of 2, but with the cases rising, as they are in most of the world, the country’s government has declared that it will issue new measures on Sunday to deal with the spike.
If those measures prevent Pellegrini from training, as happened early in the pandemic where Italy was among the hardest-hit nations, she questions her motivation to continue. In fact, she expressed doubts at the Tokyo Olympics even happening.
Pellegrini has battled with her emotions throughout the pandemic, as have many athletes and non-athletes. A celebrity in her native country beyond swimming, including as a judge on the Italy’s Got Talent television show, she has shown those emotions publicly on several occasions. That includes infamously early in the pandemic where she urged authorities to ‘think of the athletes’ at a time when bodies were literally having to be piled up outside in Italy because the morgues were over capacity.
Italy recorded 19,143 cases of coronavirus on Friday, which is roughly triple their peak from early in the pandemic where the country was among the worst on earth.
Through the summer, Italy effectively quashed the pandemic within their borders, averaging under 200 new daily cases for several weeks, but with winter coming numbers have surged to new highs.
Deaths have begun to climb as well, but with an October high of 136 recorded on Thursday so far, are still not close to their March peak of over 900 deaths in a day.
The 32-year old Pellegrini has hinted that Tokyo will probably be her last Olympic Games. She has 1 Olympic gold medal in the 200 free from Beijing in 2008 and a silver in the same event from Athens in 2004. She is also a 6 time World Champion in long course, including having won the last 2 titles in the 200 free, and the current World Record holder in that event.