Double Olympic champion rhythmic gymnast Evgenia Kanaeva has not retired and is just taking time off after London 2012, she said Thursday.
The 17-time world champion is 22, an age at which many gymnasts typically retire from the sport, which prizes youthful flexibility.
“I’m not finishing yet, just relaxing after the Olympics. I can’t say anything definite now,” she said, adding that “you have to be able to leave at the right time, and beautifully.”
Kanaeva said she had considered quitting before the Games.
“I felt like chucking it at the start of the Olympic year and in the middle too. You have days when you want to chuck everything in, it seems like you can’t do it any more. But when you have a moment of happiness, you perform brilliantly and everything works, then you don’t regret a thing.”
Being on top form for two Olympics in a row, as Kanaeva has been, puts her under exceptional strain, she said.
“It’s very hard to keep yourself at such a high level for so long. In gymnastics, only Alina Kabaeva and Ira Tchachina have held out at a high enough level for a long time.”
In August, reports emerged in the Russian media that Kanaeva was preparing to marry ice hockey player Igor Musatov, but these are wholly untrue, she said Thursday.
“I don’t know myself, where this information came from,” she said.
“I’ve never discussed my personal life and I never will. Personal things stay personal, you don’t have to shout them to the whole world.”
In addition to her Olympic and world titles, Kanaeva has 13 European titles and has won all five individual categories at each of the last three Grand Prix Finals.