Two-Time USA Diving Olympian Abby Johnston Officially Retires

Photo Courtesy: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Abby Johnston, who represented the United States in diving at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, has officially announced her retirement. Johnston won a silver medal alongside partner Kelci Bryant in the 3-meter synchro event at the 2012 Games before competing in the final of the 3-meter individual event in Rio.

Read the full letter Johnston sent out on her Twitter account and via USA Diving:

I almost retired at 22. With a silver medal in hand, it seemed like the smartest decision. But my love of the sport kept me from walking away and thus, I embarked on another Olympic quest with new goals and different challenges.

One of my closest diving friends, Kristian Ipsen, and I talked at length about what our legacy in the sport would be. We decided it’s vain to think that we’d be immortalized as diving legends. Soon a new era of divers, who were babies when I was in my prime, will dominate the sport and at best, recognize my name. Others might measure my career based on numbers—national titles, medals, Olympic Games—but that wouldn’t encompass what I am most proud of during my 15 years in the sport.

Today, as I officially trade in my suit for a white doctor’s coat, I am so glad I didn’t retire in 2012, a time that many would consider the pinnacle of my career. For me, it has never been about the accolades. I take pride in the unparalleled friendships, life lessons, and experiences that diving has afforded me. I watched my parents sacrifice their time and finances to benefit my training, even when those resources were limited. I met some of my closest friends who continue to inspire me on a daily basis. I traveled the world and was honored to wear my country’s colors. I studied at a prestigious university thanks to a diving scholarship and will soon become a doctor. Diving has done more for me than I could ever fully describe and it will be impossible to repay my gratitude for those opportunities.

Thank you to USA Diving, my coaches, teammates, friends and most importantly my family. I wouldn’t be who I am without you cheering for me and believing in me.

Johnston has not competed since the Olympics, when she fell to 12th in the 3-meter final after qualifying fifth out of the semi-finals. She spoke afterwards about “moving on with the next phase of my life,” so her retirement announcement comes asno surprise.

After the London Olympics, Johnston dealt with injuries that took her out of competition during her senior year at Duke but made the decision to return to training with a target for 2016. During the two years before Rio, she dove while attending medical school at Duke, putting off her clinical rotations until the fall of 2016.

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Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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