As if February weather was not disheartening enough, the landscape of British sport has also been laid siege by a dense, melancholic air. The red half of Merseyside initiated a week of dejection by grieving the impending retirement of Jamie Carragher, who will physically and metaphorically hang up his boots this May. However, the worse news was yet to come.
The mourning became a nationwide epidemic when it was revealed that national treasure and swimming hero Rebecca Adlington would also be retiring from competing at the ever-so tender age of 23. Whilst many athletes have yet to hit their peak at this age, Adlington clearly felt that this was time to leave the sport and set sail for ventures new.
Instead of fading from recollection like a surreal dream, she will unselfishly bow out, leaving far more tangible memories of herself draped in Olympic medals. It was in Beijing 2008 where her legacy first took shape after winning double Olympic Gold in the 400m and 800m freestyle and setting the World Record in the 800m event.
…picking up medals and household recognition with great ease and humility…
For the next 4 years Adlington went from Championship to Championship picking up medals and household recognition with great ease and humility. Her final accomplishments came in the form of two Bronze medals in London 2012, and perhaps if they had not been so hard fought then she may have made the decision to remain in the sport.
So what remains of her future? Is a gallant return to the sport on the cards or will we more likely see her adopt a backseat role developing the next generation of British swimmers. Regardless of the future, it is imperative to not mourn the end of a career, but to instead celebrate all she has achieved and given for Britain and swimming as a whole.