Japanese Olympic Swimmer Irie Retires

Sports

Tokyo, April 3 (Jiji Press)--Japanese swimmer Ryosuke Irie, who won three medals at the 2012 London Olympics, announced his retirement Wednesday at a press conference in Tokyo.

The 34-year-old, who appeared in four consecutive Olympic Games in the men's backstroke category, had been active on the international stage since 2006.

"I'm truly happy to have been able to enjoy a long career as a competitive swimmer," a tearful Irie said.

The native of Osaka Prefecture in western Japan was known for his amazing balance and flexible shoulders, which allowed him to swim backstroke without dropping a plastic bottle placed on his forehead.

At the London Games, Irie won silver in the 200-meter backstroke and in the 400-meter medley relay, and clinched the bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press