Luo Xuejuan

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Luo Xuejuan : biography

26 January 1984 –

After the Olympics

Shortly after the Olympics, Luo competed at the 2004 World Short Course Championships, where she finished 5th in the 50 breast (31.15).

Luo failed to defend her 50 & 100 breast titles in the XI FINA World Swimming Championships in Montreal in 2005. She was 4th in 100 breast (1:07.60) and 7th in 50 breast (31.50). Yet this was understandable as Luo participated in the entire championships with an injured ankle but insisted on competing. She did win the 100 breast at the 2005 Chinese National Games though, posting the 3rd fastest time of the year (1:06.86). She also won silver in the 200 (2:26.50) behind Qi Hui, and posted the fastest relay split (1:05.69) in history when she swam the breaststroke leg for the Zhejiang team in the 4×100 medley relay.

Luo was surprisingly upset by young teammate Wang Qun (1:08.56 to 1:09.14) at the 2005 East Asian Games in Macau, though she captured gold in the 50 breast (31.67).

The 2006 season saw Luo skipping all major international meets, including the World Short Course Championships in Shanghai and the Pan Pacific Championships in Vancouver. Rumours started to build that Luo had quarrels with longtime coach Zhang Yadong (Zhang was appointed head coach of the Chinese national team and hence no longer has as much time and attention on coaching Luo as before). Luo was said to have been "exiled" back for training at her home province of Zhejiang, although the swimming authorities insisted that she was still a national team member. At the 2006 Asian Games Trials, Luo managed to win the 50 breast (31.75) and place 2nd in the 100 breast (1:09.14), but her name did not appear on the official list of athletes. The official explanation for not selecting the Olympic Champion is that Luo needed more time to fully rehabilitate her heart condition in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games. The media was speculating that Luo was close to retirement.

Retirement and afterwards

On 24 January 2007 Luo announced in a press conference that she was retiring from competitive swimming due to a heart surgery failure. According to Luo, doctors advised that her life might be in jeopardy if she continued to train at the intensity required for Olympic-level athletes.

Following her retirement, Luo resumed her university studies.

On 24 March 2008 Luo Xuejuan became the second torchbearer at the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay and the first torchbearer for China. She expressed her view on Olympic ideals as follows:"As a torchbearer, I think the Olympic spirit means purity, fair play, friendship, passion, peace and harmony.", at the Official Website of the Torch Relay