Australia’s Rio Olympic Gold Medallist Mack Horton Calls Time on a Golden Career with One Regret… ‘Only that the Years Went So Quickly’

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: Mack Horton after his Rio gold, hangs up his Speedos as one of Australia's greats both in and out of the pool. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Australia’s Rio Olympic Gold Medallist Mack Horton Calls Time On a Golden Career With One Regret … ‘Only that the Years Went So Quickly’

Australia’s 2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist Mack Horton has today retired from swimming, in the same graceful, humble manner in which he swam, with the aplomb that goes hand in hand with the great Olympic champions.

The 27-year-old posting “(I’m) grateful for all I’ve experienced, and even more so for those who’ve stood alongside me and made it possible. I wouldn’t change a moment. Thank you, swimming. Thank you, Australia.”

Saying there are no regrets…”Only that the years went so quickly …. Swimming has been my life … and it’s the friends and relationships I’ve made that trump any gold medal.

“There are many people to thank … my parents firstly, 5 a.m. training sessions are brutal for the whole family, my coaches Craig Jackson and Michael Bohl, (my wife) Ella, my friends who have supported me along the way and my Dolphins’ teammates.

“I dearly wanted to swim in Paris, but the hunger wasn’t there. I always want to give my all and I am not someone who just wants to make up the numbers, so this is the right time to step away.

“I have felt so privileged to represent Australia and wear the green and gold … I just hope Australia thinks I did them proud.

“I am so grateful for my time in swimming and in regard to legacy, I hope my teammates and the sport think that I was able to help them and the sport in some way.

“And I hope they just remember me as Mack.”

And as the man who stood up for his beliefs, which began in the lead in to his Rio gold, a victory that came just hours after Horton had slammed reigning Olympic champ, China’s Sun Yang as a “drug cheat” who he does not respect after Sun had served a three-month doping ban in 2014.

As Fox Sports reported: “Horton sensationally claimed after the race the sledge was an intentional tactic inspired by Australia’s Americas Cup-winning skipper John Bertrand.

“It was something I thought of before hand and it was taking a leaf of John Bertrand’s book,” Horton said.

“He just referred to racing the American boat as ‘The Red Boat’, so he desensitized from it. Sun is just ‘the drug cheat’ that’s how I went about it.”

Horton said he wouldn’t have outlasted the defending champion ]in a thrilling last-lap duel without the tactic.

“That that last 25, 15m, it felt like I had rocks in my arms basically,” he said.

“But then I kind of flashed back to my statement this morning and thought, ‘I don’t have a choice, I can’t let him beat me now’, so that’s what I did.”

And then came the brave decision to stand down from the 2019 World Championship awards podium in the 400m freestyle after winning silver behind Sun, refusing to shake Sun’s hand.

In February 2020, Sun Yang was issued an eight-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for tampering with the doping control process.

At 27 Horton has much to celebrate and much to be proud of – the man who held his nerve and self-belief to snatch that Rio gold by 0.13 and to join Murray Rose (1956, 1960), Brad Cooper (1972) and Ian Thorpe (2000, 2004) as the fourth Australian to win the 400m freestyle.

Horton will continue to have major inout into swimming in Australia as the President of the Australian Swimmers Association while

Remembering Mack…

Head coach Rohan Taylor paid tribute to Horton, saying: “Mack is a person of great influence with constructive insights, and he is just a quality person. I want to express heartfelt gratitude to Mack for his achievements in and out of the water.”

“From a performance point of view, he was consistent and confident … in 2019 at the World Championships he didn’t have a great heat swim in the 4x200m freestyle relay but he was determined to correct this and anchor the final.

“And he delivered, swimming two and half, three seconds quicker.

“For me, that was one of his greatest moments. As an athlete leader, he respected those that came before him and those that came after him … and his perspective was invaluable not just to his teammates but to us as coaches.

“He was a world-class competitor, and a person with a high level of integrity. I know he is content with this decision, and he will be enormously successful in the next stage of his life.”


Olympic gold medallist in the 400m free at Rio in 2016 and a bronze medal as a prelim swimmer on the 4x200m free relay in 2021 in Tokyo.

Horton’s 1:44.85 anchor was the fastest Australian leg in the 4x200m freestyle at the 2019 World Championships, leading Australia to gold over Russia and the USA.

Including that 2019 relay title, Horton amassed has seven World Championship medals, four Pan Pac Championship medals, and eight Commonwealth Games medals – including four gold.

Also  a former World Junior Record holder in the 200m free, 400m free, and 800m free.

Horton will start his new career with advertising company Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne this week.

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