Katinka Hosszu Says That She Has No Retirement Plans

In an interview with Hungarian media, Katinka Hosszu pushed back on rumors of her pending retirement, saying that she has no plans to step away from the sport. Instead, the five-time Olympian has revised her goals and wants to be the first swimmer with 100 international championship medals.

Between Olympic games, World Championships, Short Course World Championships, European Championships, and European Short Course Championships, Hosszu already owns 96 medals, more than anybody in history: 64 gold, 20 silver, and 12 bronze. 

In an interview with Nemzeti Sports, Hosszu was asked if she was retiring. “I’ll retire one day, and there’s a lot less time in front of me than there is behind me in swimming. I’m turning 33 in May, and I feel a little sad about that because I still enjoy swimming,” she says. While Hosszu claims that she’s done racing backstroke in international competition, she’s excited to challenge herself to reach 100 international medals. with this new goal. 

Hosszu commented on her Tokyo performances, “I’ve been in elite sports for a long time. I felt the pressure in Tokyo exponentially. After the competition, I could have told everyone, ‘Do you think I didn’t want to win?’ ‘Do you think it didn’t hurt me that I didn’t win?’ I didn’t say that. Instead, I kept my head up and said that my performance was all I could do at the time…You always have to look at the big picture–I’ve won the Olympics before. Three times.”

Post-Olympics, Hosszu took a break from swimming. “After a while, I started to miss swimming. It’s not the feeling of me winning, the award ceremonies, or the fact that after winning, people write about me a lot. I missed the work, how adrenaline surges in me during competitions, my body being in good shape, and feeling like I can do almost everything.” 

The Iron Lady also used this break to reflect on her legendary career. In spite of the challenge that Hosszu only has four international medals from relays, she leads the international count ahead of swimmers Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Sarah Sjostrom. 

“Even though I’m leading this special ranking. I am very motivated to have a Hungarian swimmer, namely me, reach 100 medals first,” says Hosszu.

While 100 medals is Hosszu’s goal, “I didn’t say I’ll retire after my 100th medal. It’s possible that when I reach 100, I feel like I’ve had enough, but I’m not thinking about that yet. I really don’t have any plans in my head when it comes to retiring,” she says.

At European Championships in 2021, Hosszu swam the 400 and 200 IM and the 200 butterfly. It’s likely that Hosszu will medal in the 200 and 400 IM races at the 2022 European Aquatic Championships that are scheduled to take place in Rome in August. It’s possible that she reaches the podium in the 200 butterfly, but within Europe, she ranked fifth in the event last year (though she did medal at a watered-down pre-Olympic European Championships).

The magic 100th medal will probably have to wait until the 2022 Short Course World Championships, which will take place in Kazan. In short course, Hosszu will have four good chances at individual medley medals since she’ll likely add the 100 IM to her program, in addition to the 200 butterfly. The order of Hosszu’s events in Kazan will be 400 IM, 200 butterfly, 100 IM, followed by the 200 IM. So, lucky medal 100 will likely fall somewhere in that lineup. At the Short Course World Championships in 2018, Hosszu won gold in all four of these races. Most notably at these championships, Hosszu won the 400 IM 4.44 seconds ahead of the silver medalist, Melanie Margalis. 

According to Hosszu’s Instagram, she is currently training at Tenerife in the Canary Islands. 

Hosszu is a five-time Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020) three-time Olympic champion, and nine-time world champion. She’s the current world record holder in the 100-meter individual medley (SCM), 200-meter individual medley (LCM/SCM), 400 individual medley (LC), and 200-meter backstroke (SCM). Hosszu was the first swimmer to hold world records in all five individual medley races at the same time. She also serves as team captain for Team Iron, a founding member club of the International Swimming League–which she didn’t participate in last season, though she attended many of the meets.

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3 months ago

She’s still young; an American woman just set a US marathon record at age 37 – Tom Brady is leading his team to the Super Bowl and is a contender for league MVP in his 45th year; It appears that physically, elite athletes can perform well thru their 30s if they so desire. Ledecky may be competing in the 2040 Olympics for the eight time!

Ol' Longhorn
3 months ago

Cue Yozhik.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 months ago

Thank you for invitation to bring something fresh to this boring discussion 😀
My best example of how deceiving the medal count can be as the measure of success is the W4x200 LCM final at LEN 2014 in Berlin. This race is remembered by many as one of the greatest races of Federica Pellegrini when she won the gold medal for the team starting the fourth leg of relay being almost one length of the pool behind the leader. A few know that at the same race Sarah Sjostrom showed the fastest ever split that still stays unbeaten 8 years later. And Pellegrini’s amazing win was actually done at 1:57 (or so) time. Unfortunately Swedish team had nobody more… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Yozhik
Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

Yes, we remember. Just a sidenote: on the same race Hosszu swam (1:56.58), almost exactly the same time as Pellegrini, (1:56.50) and pulled the Hungarian team to the 3rd place – from 6th or so. Naturally, I made less waves 🙂

Reply to  octopus
3 months ago

Naturally, it made —

3 months ago

Kaylee McKeown is now the current world record holder in the 200 backstroke (SCM). Kaylee broke Katinka’s record in 2020.

Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
3 months ago

Eh, let her keep competing if it’s still bringing her joy and whatnot. She’s clearly not 22 anymore and her body is tired, but why should we make athletes feel like they have to be put out to pasture? Santos, Fratus, Ervin, etc…

3 months ago


3 months ago

Her 96 medals should really only be compared to other Europeans given it includes the European Championships.

Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

Her career is obviously incredible anyway but the same should apply to other regional championships but I’ll also add that those other championships only happen every four years and are only long course. So not only does European Champs happen twice as often there are two of them (short and long). That’s 4 Euro Champs for every one Asian Games, etc.

Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

All true. And remarkable non the less. But yes it would be nice to see a career tally with 1 column for Olympics, 2nd column for Worlds short and long, 3rd column to include all of Euros, Asians, Pan Pacs, Commonwealth’s, etc. That would be a fun table to scroll thru… Swimswam…?? 🙏

Reply to  Njones
3 months ago

Pretty sure she has only competed in Euros and not those other meets. That was the person’s entire point and argument — Euros inflates her medal count tremendously as swimmers outside of Europe don’t really have a meet equivalent to that.

Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
3 months ago

Pan Pacs
Pan Ams
Asian Games
Asian Swimming Championships
Oceanic Championships?
Southeast Asian Games?

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

Oceanic Championships? Seriously?

Reply to  Njones
3 months ago

It’s not an efficient way to measure the amount of medals because Euros happen every 2 years and the rest of meets you mentioned happen every 4. It’d be great to see a comparison tho.

Big Mac #1
Reply to  Calvin
3 months ago

What if you multiply each medal count from an event by the spacing out of events so commonwealth, Olympics, etc would be twice as valuable as say a euro medal or worlds medal

Last edited 3 months ago by Big Mac #1