Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania has announced her retirement from competitive swimming at just 22 years of age.
The reigning SCM 100m breast World Record holder had taken a break after the 2018 Short Course World Championships and hasn’t been training. She wound up missing doping tests in the past 12 months.
A year ago, Meilutyte said that she was battling severe depression that was driven in part by the pressure to continue her success after the 2012 Olympics.
Meilutyte’s retirement statement reads, “Thanks to swimming, I experienced a life I had never thought about. I had the opportunity to see a large part of the world, get to know and work with wonderful people. This is a special experience and now I want to use that experience and the acquired skills in a new way, this time outside the pool. I am ready to start a new phase of life. Thank you to all those who supported me.
“So far, I’ve given myself to swimming. I used to live in this sport since my early teens. Because of the tense workout regime, I postponed the science I want to return to now. I want to experience simple things, grow, better understand myself and the world around me.”
Meilutyte inspired the world when, at just 15 years of age, the Lithuanian won Olympic gold in the 100m breaststroke at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She became the first Lithuanian swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal and the victory spurred on a career that would include 20 international gold medals, 10 silver and 1 bronze.
“I want to thank Rūta for her huge contribution on behalf of our entire community.
“Her achievements inspired not only us, but also Lithuania as a whole. The victories won have become legendary, and its determination and commitment to the country only once again confirms that even in the small world, we can pick up great victories, ”says E.Vitkaitis, president of the Lithuanian Federation.
“Ruta was, is and always will be the one whose name will be written in gold letters in the history of Lithuanian swimming sport. Whatever her decision, we must accept and respect it. So, on behalf of the whole federation, we want to wish you the best of luck in any of her new life.
In terms of her pending missing whereabouts case, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code (rule 7.7) specifies that, ‘If an Athlete or other Person retires while a Results Management process is underway, the Anti-Doping Organization conducting the Results Management process retains jurisdiction to complete its Results Management process.’
Further, ‘If an Athlete or other Person retires before any Results Management process has begun, the Anti-Doping Organization which would have had Results Management authority over
the Athlete or other Person at the time the Athlete or other Person committed an anti-doping rule violation, has authority to conduct Results Management.’
As such, Meilutyte’s retirement would not exclude her from any punishment what could be inflicted due to her violation of whereabouts reporting.
Although a different situation, we did see Italian Filippo Magnini recently get handed a 4-year ban even though the former World Champion had been retired for some time.