Paralympic Champion Liz Johnson Announces Retirement

Paralympic champion Liz Johnson has retired from competitive swimming, ending a career that has seen her medal at the last 3 Olympic Games in the women’s 100 breaststroke in the SB6 category.

She made history when she became the first woman in the SB6 category to go faster than 100 seconds in her best race. That time now seems a distant memory after Australian Tiffany Thomas-Kane swam 1:34 at last year’s World Championships, but the 30-year old will forever hold a place in history in the event.

Johnson’s was one of the most heartbreaking, and on some level inspirational, stories of the 2008 Paralympics. Her mother died after a long battle with cervical cancer while Johnson was on the plane to Beijing, but she decided to carry on and compete after being assured that the funeral could be held when she returned. In the meantime, she won her first and only Paralympic gold medal, while in the throes of morning her mother.

“Sport has taught me many life lessons and transferable skills, two of the most important being that ‘timing is everything’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’,” Johnson said after retiring. It is with these at the forefront of my mind that I make this announcement today. In December, I underwent surgery for a hernia repair and unfortunately I ended up being out of training for longer than I had envisaged which resulted in me missing a large portion of the crucial winter workload. Since recovering, my team and I have been trying to play catch up but we know my body and we know where I need to be and unfortunately the trials have simply come too soon.

Johnson, of Welsh origin, is also a 4-time World Champion.

Johnson’s full retirement announcement is below:

“Sport has taught me many life lessons and transferable skills, two of the most important being that “timing is everything” and “everything happens for a reason”. It is with these at the forefront of my mind that I make this announcement today. In December, I underwent surgery for a hernia repair and unfortunately I ended up being out of training for longer than I had envisaged which resulted in me missing a large portion of the crucial winter workload. Since recovering, my team and I have been trying to play catch up but we know my body and we know where I need to be and unfortunately the trials have simply come too soon.

Whilst this presents a big change in my life and the direction that this year will take for me, I can’t be sad. I’ve been extremely privileged to be able to do something that I love and compete at the highest level for almost 20 years. My involvement in swimming has given me so much and the experiences it has provided me with have been influential in shaping me into the person that I am today. I am so grateful for everything that the sport has given me and the opportunities that I have had. I’ve been fortunate to have had many brilliant teammates – lots of whom I’ve grown up with, been with through the extreme highs and lows in my life and many who have become life long friends – some of the best anyone could ever ask for! Swimming has enabled me to travel the world, experiencing different countries and cultures which has helped me grow as a person and an athlete. The Sport has influenced every aspect of my life since I made the decision that I wanted to make it a career and become a Paralympic Champion. As a result, I’ve been fortunate to live in some of the best cities, train at the some of the best clubs and work with some of the most successful coaches that the country has to offer. I’m full of gratitude for Billy Pye, Mark Skimming, Mick Massey and Mark Rose and the clubs that I spent the majority of my career representing – Swim Swansea, University of Bath and City of Manchester (COMAST)- for providing me with the support, tools and the environment to get the most out of myself. I must also say thank you to Kay Hurley for getting me involved in Para-swimming initially and Torfaen Swim Squad for accepting me into their fold and initiating my opportunities to become an elite athlete

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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