We’re a bit late on this one, but 34-year-old Gary Hall Jr. announced Saturday, Nov. 15, that he is retiring from swimming to devote himself to his family — he’s married with two small children — and his foundation for diabetes.
I hope that with a swimmer readership, Gary Hall Jr. needs no introduction, but just in case: He won Olympic gold in the 50 free in 2000 and 2004 in spite of having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1999. He also won eight other medals over the Atlanta, Sydney and Athens games. (Sports Illustrated gets into Hall’s experiences with diabetes in detail, and Steroid.com has a roundup of statements Hall has made to the media over the years speculating about widespread steroid use in elite swimming.)
“I could probably drag some sponsors along by telling them I was going for another four years,” Hall told an Associated Press reporter. “But look, it’s not getting any easier. This past round was tough. I took a beating.”
Hall finished fourth in the 50 at this summer’s Olympic Trials and didn’t make the team. Still, his time of 21.91 at that meet in July was .02 faster than his gold-medal finish in Athens.
Swimming World speculates that “with how competitive Hall is, it would not be surprising to see him taking aim at some Masters world records for a change.” Eh, stranger things could happen. Hall and other Race Club members showed up at U.S. Master’s Swimming short course nationals in 2004 when they were in Indianapolis — check the results if you don’t believe me. (And long course master’s nationals are back in Indianapolis this summer.)