Reigning 200m breaststroke World Record holder Rikke Møller Pedersen of Denmark has announced her retirement via Instagram.
“It is with the same uncertain steps but with the same will, the same courage and the same indomitable determination that I started my swimming career at the time and focused my efforts on achieving my dreams that today I announce that I am stopping my career as a professional swimmer.”
The 30-year-old relay bronze medalist from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games continued, “It has been a difficult decision that has taken me a long time to take. In the process, I have struggled to place and prioritize the things that made the weight scale tilt towards my career stop.
“Against “No, I should not continue swimming”. The process has been difficult and characterized by thoughts like, “Am I giving up?”, “Should I just see what is waiting around the next corner?”, “Why am I not just scratching, letting it hurt and realizing it, as I know I can? ”and feelings as uncertain about what my future will offer and how it will never feel right to win something again and the fear of not being sufficient in a new environment. But the thoughts and feelings have been worked out and I am now standing and looking back proudly. I’m ready to start a new chapter in my life.
“For 24 years, the swimming, my world below the surface, has been my canvas, my space and my joy. My sport has given me the best and hardest moments of my life. It has taught me reflection, the ability to immerse myself and the will to succeed. It has given me insight into myself and other people, collaboration, cohesion and community. I have learned to hold on to the nerves that give me the fifth gear and the joy of winning as well as the tears of defeat.
“With 15 years on the international scene I have learned to be brave and what it means to take courage for SIG (sic). I have learned who I am when standing alone behind my stool in front of several thousand spectators. I have learned together and to do my best every single day for myself and my team. My career has been a fantastic journey, and I have been so privileged to experience more than I could dream of. I find it hard to find words for the support that I have repeatedly experienced in co-operation and adversity. But I would like to thank you. Thank you to all of you who supported me.” (Google translate)
Pedersen’s career highlight was setting the women’s LCM 200 breaststroke World Record in the semi-finals of the event at the 2013 World Championships. She wound up falling to Russia’s Yulia Efimova in the final, unable to match her sub-2:20 performance and settling for silver in 2:20.08, but her standard still remains today.
Since then, Pedersen has continued to be a mainstay on the international elite breaststroking scene, capturing 200m bronze at the Short Course World Championships in Doha in 2014. Pedersen also snagged 200m breast gold at the 2016 Long Course European Championships before coming home with a bronze as a member of Denmark’s 4x100m medley relay in Rio.
Most recently, Pedersen earned silver at the 2018 edition of the LCM European Championships in Glasgow on the medley relay.