Luo Xuejuan Confirms Retirement

HANGZHOU, China, January 29. IT'S official. Luo Xuejuan is retiring from the sport due to heart ailments that have plagued her and have caused fainting spells during training. Luo, the reigning Olympic champion in the 100 breaststroke, made the announcement at the age of 23. She promised to contribute to the next Olympiad in some way. Her retirement plans first surfaced last week.

Luo was the world champion in the 50 and 100 breast events at the 2001 World Champs in Fukuoka, Japan and at the 2003 World Champs in Barcelona. She plans to take classes at Beijing University in international relations and doctors have indicated that while her heart condition prompted retirement, it should not affect her daily life.

"It has been seven years since I joined the national team, which I always regard as my home. As an Olympic and world champion, I will try to make contributions for the Beijing Olympic Games," she said in an article by the Xinhua News Agency.

"I will work as hard as I did in swimming. Maybe I will get involved in the Beijing Olympic Games in a different capacity."