Japanese stalwart Takeshi Matsuda announced earlier this month that he had intentions to retire after the Japanese National Sports Festival and, as expected, his retirement has now indeed become official.
After earning 3rd in the men’s 400m freestyle at the event last Friday, September 9th, Matsuda confirmed he would be hanging up his goggles. At a press conference after the Festival, Matsuda told reporters, “I’m completely at peace. I don’t have an ounce of regret. I aimed for a gold medal and wanted to be number one in the world. I fell short of that gold medal, but I look back on everything with fondness now.”
At 32 years of age, Matsuda has represented Japan at 4 consecutive Olympics, beginning with 2004 Athens and ending with 2016 Rio. His best individual performances came at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics where he snatched bronze in the men’s 200m butterfly at both Games. His 1:52.97 outing from Beijing remains as the Japanese National Record in the event.
Matsuda also added a medal to his kitty in Rio as a member of his nation’s bronze medal-winning 800m freestyle relay. That marks his 2nd Olympic relay medal, as he was also a member of Japan’s 400m medley relay in London, which won silver.
When asked which race made the most impact on his swimming career, Matsuda answered, “It’s difficult to say. I was happy about my first bronze medal in Beijing. I was bitter about not being able to win a gold in London, but made up for it in the relay, a joy I was able to share with the younger guys in Rio.”
“The races I won a medal in all mean something.”
Remarkably, Matsuda was paired with his female coach Yumiko Kuze since the athlete was just 4 years of age. Said Matsuda’s longtime coach of her protege’s decision to retire, “Thinking back to our time, it feels like, ‘it’s over now and it felt like a short time. “(Matsuda) has always made me have a dream as well, and I’m thankful to have been able to meet a young man like him.”
Matsuda’s retirement is reportedly set to involve coaching and work as an ambassador for the sport of swimming.