World record-holder Katinka Hosszu says disappointment at the 2012 London Olympics had her set on retirement, but now plans to swim through the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
That revelation was part of an interview Hosszu did with Brazil’s Best Swimming shortly after arriving at the 2016 Olympic venue last week.
You can watch the full interview above. Hosszu says that after a fourth-place finish in London, she “had a couple of weeks, almost months, that [she] was thinking about quitting the sport.”
Later in the interview, she says it was her coach Shane Tusup who encouraged her to continue in the sport. The two are now married, and will take on their first Olympics as a married couple, another topic Hosszu addresses in the interview.
“He actually told me in London already that this 4th-place might be the best thing to ever happen to you,” she says. “At the time I thought he was crazy. But after 4 years, it’s hard to say, but he was right.” Hosszu credits her London disappointment with helping build her toughness and fire for the next four years of competition and training which has netted her a sizable stack of medals and a large pool of prize money.
She also says Rio will not be her last attempt at an Olympic medal. Asked if 2016 is finally the time she breaks through for her first piece of Olympic hardware, Hosszu laughs and says “If not now, then in Tokyo, right?”
She goes on to explain her desire to swim in the next Olympics:
“I would like to, yes. That’s my goal, to be in Tokyo,” she says. “I will be continuing practicing and racing just as well as I was the past four years.”
Hosszu talks about the absence of 2015 World Champs runner-up Kanako Watanabe in the 200 IM, plus her respect for Watanabe’s Japanese countryman Kosuke Hagino, who will swim an event lineup in Rio nearly as crowded as Hosszu’s.
Hosszu also comments on Katie Ledecky‘s dominance and Michael Phelps’ last hurrah, along with her thoughts on the Olympic start times, the zika virus and her love of watching fast swimming. Of note: Hosszu says she doesn’t get to watch much live swimming in between her busy event schedules, but rewatched every race from Kazan after the meet because she loves watching swimming.
She also confirms that she will swim a leg of the Hungarian 4×200 free relay despite not swimming the 200 free individually. That means she’ll be able to swim 6 events in total, 5 individuals and the 1 relay.