Olympic Silver Medalist Pieter Timmers To Retire At End of 2020

The silver medalist in the men’s 100m freestyle from the 2016 Olympic Games, Pieter Timmers of Belgium, has announced he will no longer be pursuing Tokyo.

The 32-year-old father of one said today, April 16th, “The postponement of the Olympics thwarts my watertight plan, which had been mapped out years ago: to give everything once more at the Games, and then start a new chapter.”

The multi-national record holder continued, “My slogan has always been in the field of sports, ‘Do not be influenced by what you do not control, only focus on what you have in hand’. I want to keep that slogan now and not deviate from that plan.”

Timmers proceeds to discuss how he will not pursue competing in the next Summer Games, as the competition has been moved to July 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I will not participate in the postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. It is a shame, but I am happy with it because I want to make my own choices and this was a well-considered decision.

“I have been giving myself 100% for years. Say no to a lot of things to be as good as possible in the pool, in the battle for hundredths.

“I ask a lot of my environment and myself. Barely see my friends and family, and looked forward and looking forward to finally seeing them more.

“Could there be another year? If I really want to, and if it is possible in a practical area. The latter is certainly not easy, because my plans were already set out from August 2020. Reversing everything is difficult to achieve, but above all: I wouldn’t feel good about that. And I only do something if I am 100% behind it. I can only try the best if everything is 100% right. Otherwise, I will not start. With me, it is all or nothing.”

Timmers has continued to compete since he logged that 47.80 national record to snag 100m free silver behind winner Kyle Chalmers of Australia in Rio, but hasn’t quite been up to that same caliber.

He missed out on the event’s final at the 2017 World Championships, settling for 16th while he suffered the same fate 2 years later at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju.

In between, Timmers was hospitalized for meningitis, missing out on the 2018 European Championships.

More recently the Belgian captured gold in his signature event at the Indianapolis stop of the 2019 FINA Champions Series. He clocked a time of 48.36 to top the podium ahead of the likes of Russia’s Vlad Morozov and USA’s Townley Haas.

Timmers plans on competing through the end of this calendar year, aiming to race at the European Championships, as long as they are rescheduled for 2020. He also says he will most likely compete in the International Swimming League (ISL). Timmers competed for Budapest-based Team Iron during season 1.

As such, “my farewell is therefore only planned within 7 months. And then it is time to train, and for a new chapter,” says the veteran.

“I would like to thank everyone for all their support in recent years, and will do it again at the end of this year if the story is really done. ”

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
9 months ago

“I only do something if I am 100% behind it”. Jesse Owens, Comaneci, MJ, Ali, Phelps…. faced enormous adversities and kept going. Most ( 99% ) of the real champions the world has ever seen totally disagree. Great athlete, but ( hate to see this ) poor mentality.

Reply to  Yuri
9 months ago

Disagree with your comment 100%

Reply to  Yuri
9 months ago

Don’t understand this at all. Phelps retired because he essentially said the same thing as Timmers – namely, he can’t give 100% anymore.

It sounds like Timmers, as a 32 year old father, is ready to move on in life.

9 months ago

Totally different scenario, that’s what I meant. One thing is retiring because you feel you can’t give 100% anymore, but it’s very different if you retire because of an obstacle put by the destiny ( postponement of the Olympics ). Phelps retired his way, that’s why he came back ( his own words ). So if Pieter decides to retire AFTER Olympics but they are postponed and he retires anyway, that’s not like Michael. Not whatsoever. Same for Lochte : “My dream is to finish my career with a last Olympics.” Guess what ? Despite the postponement, he is still going for it.

Reply to  Yuri
9 months ago

Phelps very recently said that if the 2012 Olympics had been postponed he wouldn’t have participated. MJ (since you mentioned him) also retired in his prime, giving the reason that he wasn’t in it 100%

Reply to  Yuri
9 months ago

If an athlete feels they have more to do and they want to commit another year of their life, that’s great and I support them, but I’m also thrilled to see an athlete whose life is not controlled by the Olympic cycle.

This guy is able to step away because he realizes there’s a life after swimming and knows that his worth as a human being does not come from what he’s done in the pool, which I think is an awesome mentality.

Reply to  Yuri
9 months ago

When you’re done, you’re done. Look at Maya DiRado. Before Rio, she knew it was going to be her last meet, and despite coming home with four Olympic medals including individual gold, it didn’t change the trajectory of that decision.

Mediocre Swammer
Reply to  Yuri
9 months ago

Being an athlete puts your life on hold in ways that other professions don’t. If someone makes a decision to continue that life until a certain date, and then that date gets postponed (and there is no guarantee that the Olympics will go on in 2021 as currently scheduled), it is in no way a poor mentality to decide to hang it up at your original personal deadline.

Edited: Especially when you add in the uncertainty of when swimmers will be able to get back to training normally, and if that training will continue to be interrupted over the coming months. That’s hard to plan around, and probably even harder the older you are.

9 months ago

Dang! I love Timmers. He will be missed.

Reply to  PKWater
9 months ago

Great swimming technique. He was a 100 free specialist, but also capable of remarkable 200 free performances. For instance, at European Champs 2014 in Berlin, Belgium was bronze medalist in the 4×200 free relay (one tenth of a second shy from silver medalist Russia), with a scintillating anchor-leg from Timmers: 1.45.17 for him.

Reply to  nuotofan
9 months ago

that was the best Relay Team Belgium had ever assembled ….amazing anchor from Timmers . The best 100 free specialist we ever had .

Texas Tap Water
9 months ago

A perfect example of swimmer peaking at the absolute right time.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

Read More »