Gary Hall Jr SteroidsThere’s no doubt that Gary Hall Jr’s presence in the sport of swimming will be missed.

Hall had caused ripples, in and out of the pool, with his outspokenness against his fellow swimmers and US swimming officials. You can say that he’s gone against the tide many times over in his career, and now he thinks he’s had enough of the chlorinated environment and is retiring from the scene at the age of 34.

Hall never minces his words on anything, especially if the subjects are his adopted crusades, i.e., anti-doping in swimming and diabetes awareness, and the 10-time Olympic medalist is equally candid when he talked with Associated Press about what prompted his retirement.

Hall failed to make it to the 2008 Olympics when he finished fourth at the 50-meter freestyle finals at the Olympic trials that took place in Omaha on July – only the two top finishers were qualified to fly to Beijing to represent the US.

Hall thinks that to wait out the next Olympics would entail sacrificing his family.

“I’m just not ready to commit myself to another four years,” Hall said in a telephone interview. “It was difficult to be away from my wife and kids this past year to commit myself to training. It’s different when you have kids. To be honest, I was getting more enjoyment out of my kids than I was out of swimming.”

As for his performance at the Olympic trials, Hall openly acknowledged he had a hard time at his last Olympic trials.

“I could probably drag some sponsors along by telling them I was going for another four years,” he said. “But look, it’s not getting any easier. This past round was tough. I took a beating.

“I’m really not disappointed as all with the result. I swam the second-fastest time of my career (21.91 seconds). I hadn’t swam that fast since 2000, which is a long time ago. My time at the trials was good enough to win at any previous Olympic Games. I’m certainly not disappointed. It’s something to be proud of.”

Aside from his family, Hall would like to dedicate his time to his foundation whose advocacy is to promote awareness and provide funding on diabetes.

“I think my assets are better appreciated and more needed in diabetes than they are in the pool,” he said.

He announced his retirement on Friday, in time with the World Diabetes Day. It was in 1999 that Hall was diagnosed with type I diabetes.

He’s also presently testing the waters of the entrepreneurial world, creating a company that would cater to the needs of both his causes. His company develops vitamin supplements, particularly designed for individuals with diabetes as well clean and elite-level athletes so they can be at par with those who use steroids and other performance boosters.

“I’m trying to offer resources to athletes where they can go to have supplements discussed and available … with no concern about cross-contamination or anything like that,” he said. “When you look at my sport, and all sports really, you come to the realization that doping does exist.”

During his meeting with the press at the Olympic trials last July, Hall voiced out that it was not the revolutionary swimsuit which helped swimmers smashed records but the  overflowing supply of steroids.

“Clearly we know now it wasn’t the suit that was causing all these world records to be broken, it was copious amounts of steroids,” Hall told reporters. “Can the suit technology distract from another issue? I think it’s pretty convenient for those that are indulging the other issue.”

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