Mansfield swimmer Adlington says she ‘needs to take a break’ to decide her future

An exhausted and emotional Rebecca Adlington after winning bronze at the 800 metres freestyle at the London Olympics Games on Friday.
An exhausted and emotional Rebecca Adlington after winning bronze at the 800 metres freestyle at the London Olympics Games on Friday.

MANSFIELD’S Rebecca Adlington will take time out to decide her future after admitting to a mixture of pride and disappointment after sealing bronze but seeing her Olympic 800m freestyle crown taken from her in sensational style.

Adlington, who won double gold in Beijing in 2008, was vying to make history as the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic crown but 15-year-old American Katie Ledecky led from start to finish.

And she did so with the second fastest time in history in 8:14.63, just shy of Adlington’s world record. Adlington was third in 8:20.32 after Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia clawed her way back to take silver.

It was a second bronze medal for the 23-year-old, after taking third in the 400m freestyle on Sunday in London, but she hinted that this could be her last Olympics.

Adlington said: “I am not disappointment to get a bronze medal, it is nothing to ever be ashamed of. I am proud to go to four Olympic finals and get four medals. But I am disappointed more in my time. I have been swimming faster than that all year.

“I know it, you know it and I don’t why it happened. But I know my body takes a lot longer to recover nowadays and the 800m is a painful event. It gets more and more painful.

“But at the end of the day I gave it my absolute all, I hope people saw that at home and I am proud to get on that podium.

“The pressure has been hard to deal with over the last four years and it has been tough. Had it been the other way round – two bronze then two golds – it would have looked better.”

Adlington is doing a charity bike ride in Africa this October and says afterwards, she will sit down with Furniss and look at what the future holds.

“I need to take a break, mentally and physically,” said Adlington. “When I come back I need to sit down with my coach Bill ~(Furniss) and talk about things. I have to have the passion to do it. I have had that over the last four years but I don’t know if it will still be there, it is something I need to find out.”