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Olympics: Kayak great Idem bows out at eighth Games

'That's enough', says 47-year-old

Olympics: Kayak great Idem bows out at eighth Games

(ANSA) - London, August 9 - Italian kayak canoeing great Josefa Idem said she was retiring on Thursday after finishing fifth in the final of the women's K1 500m singles event at the London Olympics at the age of 47. "I'm sorry because this was my last race, but I'm also happy because I came so close to the podium," the German-born athlete, who was taking part in her 10th Olympic final spread over eight Games, told Sky television. "That's enough now. My dream is to be in Rio (for the 2016 Olympics) to talk about other people's achievements". Idem's tally of five Olympic medals includes the gold she won in Sydney in 2000. She competed at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics for West Germany before switching to race for her adopted homeland after marrying her Italian coach Guglielmo Guerrini. Idem is not the athlete with most Olympic appearances, although the people who have more made them in less physically demanding sports, such as sailing and showjumping. In part, Idem has the end of the Cold War to thank for her switch of allegiance to Italy. Her initial intention after moving to Italy to be with Guerrini in 1988 was to continue competing for Germany. But the fall of the Berlin Wall and the availability of athletes from East Germany meant the national team's coaches were unwilling to accommodate the needs of someone living outside the country. So she was left in the cold and found a warm welcome in her new homeland. It was a bad move by the German coaches. As well as her Olympic medals, Idem has also collected 22 world championship medals, including five golds. Idem bowed out on the day that Martina Grimaldi won Italy's 18th medal of the London Games by taking bronze in the women's 10km open-water swimming marathon at the London Olympics. Grimaldi came in just three seconds behind gold-medal winner Eva Risztov from Hungary, who finished in one hour, 57 minutes, 37 seconds. US swimmer Haley Anderson won the silver medal. GrimaldI's achievement on the Serpentine in Hyde Park gave Italy its first swimming medal at the London Olympics, after the team went away empty-handed from the pool events.

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