By Mary Wagner
COLORADO SPRINGS, Jan. 31. – After 10 years on the USA Swimming National Team, Barbara "BJ" Bedford, 2000 Olympic gold medalist, has decided to retire from
"I know it will be hard to let go. Swimming has been so good to me, and maybe pretty hard on me from time to time as well, but that's why I love it. You get what you give, and I gave everything. And in return, I have received the world."
Bedford has won medals representing the U.S. at every level of major international competition, including the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, the Pan American Games, the
Short Course World Championships, the World University Games and the Goodwill Games.
She made her first national team in 1991, winning gold in the 100m back and the 400m medley relay at the World University Games. She finished seventh in the 100m back at the 1992 Olympic Trials and a heart-breaking third in 1996 before winning the event at the 2000 Olympic Trials to make her first Olympic team. In Sydney last summer, Bedford led off the world record-breaking, gold medal 400m medley relay and was also
sixth in the finals of the 100m back.
She won eight U.S. national titles in her career, including six in the 100m back. Bedford's final meet was the World Cup meet in Paris, Jan. 27-28, where she
won the 50m and 100m back and 100m individual medley.
Bedford grew up in Etna, N.H., graduated from the University of Texas in 1994, and has spent the last few years living and training in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Bedford's International Medals
Olympic Games: 2000: 1st, 400m MR (world record)
World Championships: 1998: 1st, 400m FR; 1st, 400m MRp
1994: 3rd, 100m back
Pan Pacific Championships: 1999: 3rd, 100m back; 1st, 400m MR
1995: no medals
1993: 2nd, 100m back; 1st, 200m back
Pan American Games: 1995: 1st, 100m back; 1st, 200m back; 1st, 400m MR
World University Games: 1993: 1st, 100m back; 1st, 400m MR
1991: 1st, 100m back; 1st, 400m MR
Short Course Worlds: 1995: 3rd, 100m back
Goodwill Games: 1994: 2nd, 100m back; 1st, 200m back; 1st, 400m MR
Mary Wagner is Public Relations Director, USA Swimming
This article is courtesy of USA Swimming