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Bulimia Sidelines Sweden's Iggelstrom -- March 11, 2004

By Bo Hulten

STOCKHOLM, March 10. SWEDEN'S Emma Iggelstrom, 24, the world record-holder for the short course 50 meter breaststroke (29.96 seconds) and European record-holder at both 100 and 200 meters breaststroke, is taking some time off from swimming to deal with an eating disorder.

The announcement came in a letter to the Swedish news agency TT, in which Iggelstrom said the bulimia she has fought for eight years has resurfaced.

"This time, I don't have the energy and stamina to fight alone, and I have hence decided, supported by treatment and those close to me, to win once and for all. I've fought before and I know that I eventually will be standing as a winner," she wrote.

The decision dealt a major blow to Sweden's Olympic medal hopes -- not only in the 100 breaststroke, but the medley relay as well. Igelstrom, who won three golds at the 2002 World Championships, did not say how long she expects to be away from competitive swimming.

Swedish Swimming Federation head coach Hasse Bergqvist said it is unclear
whether Igelstrom can compete in the Athens Olympics.

"It's too soon to say, but I don't want to throw in the towel just yet," he
said. "This feels awful. She has been one of the core parts of the national team for the past three years. This is a huge setback for our drive. But still, this is just sports. ... What's most important is that
Emma recovers from the illness."