Kajsa Bergqvist has retired


Kajsa Bergqvist, one of the most successful women high jumpers on the global stage, has announced her retirement at the age of 31. In the following story, take from the http://www.iaaf.orgsite, Lennart Julin relates Bergqvist's
tough decision.

Bergqvist has been one of the toughest and most stylistic of high jumpers over the last decade. Kajsa won 50 percent of the ten world, continental and Olympic championships she competed in over the past decade! In Sweden, which is just plain track crazy, Bergqvist is a rock star.

We wish Kajsa Bergqvist, one of the most successful, elegant and classy athletes of our sport, great success in retirement!

After an international career spanning no less than fifteen years Swedish high jumper Kajsa Bergqvist, 31, the 2005 World champion has today announced that her athletics career has come to an end.

“Not in any way was this a sudden decision,” said the current World Indoor record holder, “but rather the logical outcome of a process going on for about a year. Through 2007 I could not find the same enthusiasm for training and competing as I have always had before.”

After my last meet of the summer – Weltklasse in Zurich – I therefore decided to take a major break for a month or two with the hope that the passion would be rekindled.

“But it never was, not even the thought about the upcoming Olympics in Beijing helped, and without that indispensible passion it is impossible for me to be competitive on the world scene.”

“Physically I am absolutely OK with no injury problems. But after a long career I have simply come to the point where I feel "mission completed.”

“Of course there will be moments when I will wish I was back competing and probably there will be a little sting in my heart when I watch the Beijing High Jump final but at the moment I feel no sadness or regret. Instead I look back upon my career with great joy and pride.”

“Coming back after the Achilles rupture the previous year to become World Champion in 2005 was the greatest moment, I still get goose bumps all over when I think about that day in Helsinki. Very special of course also the World Indoor record in Arnstadt the following winter.

“Emotionally the DN Galan evenings in my hometown Stockholm have always been extraordinary with the enormous supporting energy I have got from the crowd, especially so in 2006 when I received a standing applause from the spectators on the back-straight as I entered the arena. I probably was in the best form of my life and that evening had my best ever attempts at the World record height of 2.10.”

“I will always keep in contact with the sport of athletics, after all it has been my life for so many years. But generally my life will now enter a new phase I am really looking forward to. On New Year's Eve I married my long time boyfried Måns and I am also in the process of moving back to Stockholm from Monaco which has been my home for most of the years on the international high jumping scene,” concluded Bergqvist.

Some facts about Kajsa Bergqvist's athletics career:

* Between 2000 and 2006 competed in ten international championships (Olympics, World, European) outdoors and indoors without missing the podium even once and winning 50% of them - one World, two World Indoors, one European and one European Indoors.

* Lost the World Junior title in 1994 only in a jump-off and also has silver medals from European Juniors and European U23's plus a gold from the European Youth Olympics.

* First cleared 2 metres in 2000 and then did it at least once each of the following seven years amassing a total of 52 meets at 2.00+.

* In 21 Golden League High Jump competitions won 3, reached the podium in 13 and only once finished out of the top-6.

* 1999-2007 was world ranked 8 – 1 – 3 – 1 – 2 – injured – 1 – 1 – 5 by the magazine Track & Field News underlining that she has been the top female high jumper of the last decade.

* Competed for the Swedish national team in 9 European Cups winning 6 and in 12 "Finnkampen" (yearly match vs Finland) winning 10. That is a 76.2% success rate!

* Raised the Swedish national records from 1.94 both outdoors and indoors to 2.06 and 2.08 respectively. The latter also constituting a World Indoor record.

Lennart Julin for the IAAF

For more on the global sport of athletics, please click: http://www.iaaf.org

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