Three-time Olympic and 31-time World Champion Kayaker Katalin Kovács announced her retirement from active competition

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Three-time Olympic and 31-time World Champion Kayaker Katalin Kovács announced her retirement from active competition on Thursday in Budapest.

The 40-year-old athlete, who holds the title of the most successful kayaker of all time started her career in Budapest Spartacus Sports Club nineteen years ago.

She participated in four Olympics. She won gold medals in K-2 500 meters in 2004 and in 2008 as well as in K-4 500 meters in 2012. She also won five Olympic silver medals.

Her last world tournament was the 2013 World Cup in Duisburg. In 2014 she gave birth to a baby girl; soon after, she started training again, but this year she could not qualify for the Rio Olympics.

Katalin Kovács' 31 world title is an absolute record in the sport.

“After the birth of my daughter Luca I had big plans, I trained hard in the past two years, I did everything to qualify for the Rio Olympics, but unfortunately the plan did not work out...

In recent months, it became clear to me that my heart is no longer with kayaking but with my family - I want to spend more time with them.

I guess I will not give away a big secret what I tell you today... what so far, I only told to my little daughter after the end of a fairy-tale... but now, after 29 years, the time has come to tell this to you too: my "fairy-tale" has come to an end, my athletic career has come to an end today.

I am proud that for 19 years I could have been a member of the Hungarian national team; and there are a lot of people to thank to for helping me to accomplish what I've accomplished in kayaking.

It was a real team work!

I'm very much indebted to all my fellow athletes with whom I trained and competed through these years.

I thank to my coaches who believed in me and made me believe that I was able to be the best in the world.

I thank to my clubs, the "MKKSZ" that provided the best training conditions for me.

I am grateful to all the doctors who healed my body (and occasionally my soul too) so many times during my career.

I thank to my sponsors who had confidence in me and supported me for so many years!

I thank Zoltan Vaszary, who was my patron for almost 20 years!

I thank my family and all the journalists who wrote so many nice things about me. And last but not least, I thank my fans that inspired me and rooted for me throughout those years....

Now, I join them to become one of the most enthusiastic fans of the Hungarian national team. I'm looking forward the beginning of the Rio Olympics to root for the success of our national team. Go Hungary go!”

(MTI -


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