Athletics: Drechsler may retire

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The Independent Online

The two-time Olympic long jump champion Heike Drechsler said yesterday she is thinking of retiring, ending a career that has made her one of the top women athletes for two decades.

"I will think it over in the fall if it makes sense to stay around for another Olympic year," said the German who missed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics through injury.

She holds the record for the longest span between gold medals at major championships of 17 years. She won her first long jump World Championship title in 1983 and her second Olympic gold at the 2000 Olympics. She was also an outstanding heptathlete and sprinter and held the 200m world record.

An inflamed Achilles tendon has delayed 38-year-old's start to the season, leaving her just the Karlsruhe meet on 3 August to qualify for the World Championships in Paris. Drechsler is adamant that if she only manages the minimum 6.75m needed to qualify she will skip the tournament. "If I can only jump the minimum, then I don't need to bother going to Paris," she said. "A medal is always my goal, my expectations of myself."