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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 18:26 GMT
Davies announces retirement plan
David Davies
David Davies says he plans to retire after 2012 Olympics
Welsh swimming star David Davies has revealed he plans to retire after the 2012 Olympics.

Davies will only be 27 when the Olympics come to London in five years' time, but he believes that would be the ideal moment to end his career.

"I always wanted to bow out of swimming at the highest possible level I could," Davies told the BBC's Sport Wales programme.

"I don't want to finish in some rubbish little event."

I think Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is the only song that will make me start crying

David Davies

He added: "To bow out in a home Olympics, something we might not see again for years to come, would be an ideal opportunity."

The Olympic bronze and Commonwealth gold medallist is one of Britain's biggest hopes for success at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Davies is among the favourites to take 1500m freestyle gold next summer, but he hopes London 2012 will represent the pinnacle of his career.

He said: "I wanted to bow out either at the very top - when I've produced my ultimate performance and I know I'm not going to do better - or at a home Olympics like London 2012, where the setting is going to be fantastic and the environment amazing."

"I've had four years now of doing world competition swimming, and the fact I've been to the Olympics before will make Beijing very different. The experience I have will be different to Athens.

"My heart will be racing faster come the Olympics - because that's the one. But the beat I have when I'm swimming for Wales is a different kind of beat, it's very special and very patriotic.

606: DEBATE

"I think Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is the only song that will make me start crying. It's very emotional."

Davies, who hails from Barry, has left Wales to live in Loughborough to help improve his chances of Olympic glory, and the 22-year-old will spend Christmas warm-weather training at British Swimming's Offshore Centre on the Gold Coast in Australia.

Davies' main rival in Beijing will be Australian 1500m legend Grant Hackett, and the Welsh swimmer will take confidence from the strong challenge he presented to win bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

"I used to watch Grant when I was a kid and I would think to myself that I'm never going to beat the guy," said Davies, who added Commonwealth gold to his medal collection in Melbourne last year.

"He's one of my role models, one of the all-time greatest swimmers.

"To be in the lane next to him and push him all the way was a very surreal experience."

Sport Wales is on BBC Two Wales & 2W on Thursday at 2200 GMT.



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