French swimmer comes out of retirement chasing gold

Amaury Leveaux (Getty Images)
Amaury Leveaux (Getty Images)

Paris - Five years after quitting the pool, Amaury Leveaux, world record holder and Olympic medallist, is returning to swimming aiming at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The 32-year-old Frenchman still holds the short-course world record for the 100m freestyle which he set at the European championships in 2008, when he also broke world records in the 50m free and 50m butterfly.

He won a gold and two silvers as part of French Olympic relay teams and has one individual medal, a silver, in his favourite event, the 50m free, from Beijing in 2008.

The sprint is the event he is targeting.

"I still have something to do in the 50m," he said. "My goal is to win Olympic gold in Tokyo."

"I'm made for that, I know it, I feel it," he said. "I like the challenges, my goal is the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, I'm coming back because I love swimming. I do not feel I have reached the end," said Leveaux, adding that he did "not need to work" to get in shape.

Since retiring at the age of 28 in 2013, the 2.02m tall swimmer has published his autobiography, 'Sex, Drugs and Swimming', which drew a vitriolic portrait of the swimming world and took digs at some members of the French team. He also appeared in French reality TV shows.

He told Le Parisian newspaper that he is negotiating a sponsorship deal to cover his costs, that he planned to train in Los Angeles, starting next month, and that he will have a chef, a cameraman and a film editor with him.

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