France's Laure Manaudou pulls plug on season

A lawyer for struggling French swimmer Laure Manaudou said the former Olympic champion would not be competing this season due to a lack of motivation. The 22-year-old failed to bounce back during a miserable campaign at the Beijing Olympics.


AFP - Fallen French swim star Laure Manaudou has pulled the plug on her 2009 season saying she has lost the will to compete at the highest level.

"Laure Manaudou has decided to end her season in order to take a break from top level swimming," her lawyer Didier Poulmaire said in a written statement.

"Laure currently feels totally saturated and this has deprived her of the pleasure and desire to swim.

"Without this desire to swim, which drove her on to put together one of the finest records in international swimming, Laure no longer can produce the physical and mental qualities needed to achieve top performances."

The 22-year-old became a national heroine at the 2004 Athens Olympics when she took gold in the 400 metres freestyle - the first ever for her country for a woman. She also won silver in the 800 metres freestyle and bronze in the 100 metres backstroke.

Despite going on to set several world records, Manaudou struggled to stay on top as problems with her long-time coach and an ugly breakup with her Italian swimmer boyfriend saw her picture splashed over the gossip magazines.

She attempted to bounce back at the Beijing Olympics but failed misearably and fled the pool in tears.

Poulmaire also said in his statement that another reason for her taking a break was that she was struggling with a shoulder injury and regular severe headaches which were wrecking her training.

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