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. ”