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Top gymnast announces surprise retirement

Ariella Kaeslin
Ariella Kaeslin at the artistic gymnastics world championship in 2010 Keystone

Ariella Kaeslin, Switzerland’s most successful-ever gymnast, has said she is quitting the sport just a year before the Olympic Games in London.

The popular 23-year-old from Lucerne, who was named Swiss Sportswoman of the Year a record three times in a row from 2008-2010, said she was struggling to reach the physical fitness needed for a professional athlete.

“Ultimately I would no longer have been able to compete in top-level sport. That would have meant that I couldn’t achieve aims which I set myself,” she said at a news conference on Monday.

She looked back at highlights of a career that lasted more than ten years. These include fifth place at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and a year later becoming the first Swiss woman to win a medal at the European championships, where she took one gold (in the vault) and one bronze (in the overall competition).

In October 2009 she became the first Swiss woman to win a medal in artistic gymnastics in a world championship competition – a silver in the vault.

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