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Adlington Set To Hang Up Golden Goggles

Jan 31, 2013  - Craig Lord

News Round-up:

Great Britain: Double Olympic champion of 2008, Rebecca Adlington, of Britain, is expected to announce her retirement at a press conference in London on Tuesday next week. On trust, journalists were informed of the pending news when invited to the press conference for the 400m and 800m freestyle champion. That trust is somewhat broken today by news articles in two newspapers in Britain written as speculation but based on knowledge. The 23-year-old, who followed up her double success of Beijing with two bronze medals in the same events at a home Games in London last summer, returned to training after the New Year to assess whether true passion was still there for a hard daily grind. It is understood that Adlington has decided to call it a day. Her passion for the sport is intact, however, and Adlington is set to announce a new venture next Tuesday. She may also play a part in a fresh start for British Swimming, which will soon reveal a new management structure, speculation rife that the federation may soon have a new chief executive.

France: Laure Manaudou, the first French woman to win Olympic gold in the pool when she claimed the 2004 400m freestyle crown, has retired for the second and last time, as expected. She announced the news in Paris alongside even better news: "I took the decision to retire some time ago. I am three months pregnant and stopped swimming two months ago. I want to enter a new phase of life and get to know new people," she told French TV. Manaudou's partner is sprinter Fred Bousquet, the couple's new arrival to be a sibling for their first child, Manon.

Denmark: Shannon Rollason, Head Coach of the Australian Institute of Sport, has been appointed Head Coach of the National Training Centre in Denmark. A coach on the Australian Olympic team since 2004, Rollason has been overseening the programmes of Angie Bainbridge, Sally Foster and Belinda Hocking of late. He also coached Alice Mills and Jodie Henry, the 2004 Olympic 100m freestyle champion. Rollason effectively replaces Paulus Wildeboer, who is heading the other way: from March he will be at the helm of the Queensland programme in Australia. Whether Rollason will end up as Denmark's National Team Director is not yet clear. "Working in a world class environment like the AIS with world class athletes and world class support staff is what every coach dreams of. The decision to leave was not easy, but I felt the time was right to change path and accept an international challenge," Rollason said in an AIS statement confirming his resignation. "Australia continues to produce a host of world class swimmers, and they will continue to be guided by an outstanding coaching fraternity featuring highly professional men and women who are passionate and dedicated about producing great results for the sport," he said. AIS Director Matt Favier thanked Rollason for his years of dedicated service and praised him for his outstanding international coaching record. "Shannon has made a tremendous contribution to swimming in Australia and I would like to congratulate him for his work with the AIS program over the past eight years," said Favier. "We wish him all the best in his new role."

Anti-doping: in the latest fallout of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen has admitted to taking EPO, steroids, human growth hormone and blood doping from 1998 to 2010. At a press conference in Copenhagen today, the Dane said he has informed the relevant authorities. Now 38, Rasmussen led the 2007 Tour de France until he was kicked off for lying about his whereabouts when he missed pre-race doping tests. He later admitted that he had lied and was banned from cycling for two years. His confession today marks the first time he has actually admitted to doping. WADA, USADA and the UCI are at loggerheads over the UCI's decision to disband an independent inquiry into Armstrong and related issues in favour of a truth and reconciliation process. The UCI said it was working on that with WADA. WADA said that was not true.

The lie of self-justification: Lance Armstrong's latest bid to soften the blow of history he himself shaped - "From hopping on trains a 100 years ago to EPO (Erythropoietin) now. No generation was exempt or 'clean'. Not [Eddy] Merckx, not [Bernard] Hinault, not LeMond, not [Fausto] Coppi, not [Felice] Gimondi, not [Miguel] Indurain, not [Jacques] Anquetil, not [Gino] Bartali, and not mine," the shamed cyclist told a cycling website in his first interview since confirming the cheating that journalists have written about for a decade and USADA proved with the help of Armstrong's teammates and people in the know before the American did a complete U-turn after having built his adult life on what he called "a big lie". Armstrong's latest words do what many other cheats have long done: they blame all around for a culture in which they claim 'it is impossible not to cheat', thus tainting every other athlete that ever competed: another part of the big lie.

Beyond the swimming pantheon: Michael Phelps exchanged Speedo for PING on his list of active sporting endorsements when he teed off in Phoenix at the 2013 Waste Management ProAm on his way to a new player career on dry land.

Australia: Olympic swim champions Dawn Fraser and Stephanie Rice have succumbed to the draw of celebrity - they will appear on Celebrity Apprentice, in which some household names are set tests and get judged for their business acumen. Fraser, founder member of the triple Olympic crown club when she retained the 100m freestyle title for a third time in 1964 before Aussie swim bosses banned her for 10 years for (among other accusations) stealing a flag that she never stole at the Tokyo Games, is not shy when it comes to telling it like it is, while Rice, double medley champion on 2008 and a triple gold winner as a member of the Aussie 4x200m free squad in Beijing, is no stranger to controversy either. Watch those tweets (assuming they're allowed).