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Pernille Blume, Olympic swimming champion, retires

Pernille Blume

Pernille Blume of Denmark reacts after the women’s 50m freestyle semifinal of swimming at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, July 31, 2021. (Photo by Xu Chang/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Xinhua News Agency via Getty Ima

Pernille Blume, the surprise 2016 Olympic 50m freestyle champion from Denmark, retired from swimming at age 28.

“It has been a long journey coming to my decision and it has been some somewhat an emotional ride,” was posted on Blume’s social media. “Although it is hard and difficult to say goodbye to something I love so much, then it is also equally exciting and thrilling to think about a new chapter is about to unfold in my life.”

Blume entered the 2016 Rio Games ranked 10th in the world that year in the 50m free, according to FINA. Yet she was fastest in the preliminary heats and the semifinals before winning the final in 24.07 seconds, edging American Simone Manuel by two hundredths.

It was Denmark’s first Olympic swimming title in 68 years.

She placed fourth in the 50m free at the world championships in 2017 and 2019, lowering her national record in 2017.

In January 2019, Blume underwent surgery to close a small hole in her heart.

She earned 50m free bronze at her third and final Olympics in Tokyo. She did not compete at the world championships this past summer.

Blume and French Olympic champion swimmer Florent Manaudou announced their engagement in September 2021.

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