Leisel Jones

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Leisel Jones
2008 Australian Olympic team Leisel Jones - Sarah Ewart.jpg
Personal information
Full name Leisel Marie Jones
Nickname(s) Diesel, Lethal Leisel[1]
Nationality  Australia
Born (1985-08-30) 30 August 1985 (age 28)
Katherine, Northern Territory
Height 177 cm (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Weight 68kg
Sport
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Breaststroke
Club Melbourne Vicentre

Leisel Marie Jones OAM (born 30 August 1985 in Katherine, Northern Territory, Australia) is a retired Australian Olympic gold medalist swimmer. A participant in the 2000 Summer Olympics – at just 15 years old – and 2004 Summer Olympics, she was part of gold medal winning Australian team in the women's 4 × 100 metre medley relay at the Athens Games in 2004 and a gold medalist for 100 meter breaststroke in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

On 17 March 2012, Jones earned selection to compete at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and became the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympic games. There, she won her ninth Olympic medal, a silver medal in the 4 × 100 m medley relay.

Jones is noted for employing a classical breaststroke technique, typified by a slow but deeper stroke cycle and also by her slow starts.[3] Along with South African champion Penny Heyns, she is regarded as one of the greatest breaststroke swimmers ever.[citation needed]

Personal[edit]

While at Southern Cross Catholic College, Jones used to train at the Redcliffe club in Scarborough, Queensland, and was coached by Ken Wood.[4] Her training partners included fellow Australian team members, Geoff Huegill and Jessicah Schipper.[5] After her disappointing campaign in Athens, Jones moved to train at the Fortitude Valley Pool in Brisbane, Australia, alongside Libby Lenton, under Swiss-born coach Stephan Widmar at the Commercial Swimming Club.[6][7] Following the move, Jones began to speak openly about the depression and self-esteem issues that had plagued her following her being thrust into the spotlight at such a young age.[8] This and the successes that followed endeared her to an Australian public that had been critical of her attitude following her failure to capture individual gold in Athens. Some, including swimming legend Dawn Fraser, believed Jones had acted immaturely and ungratefully, particularly in her indifferent displays of emotion during post-race interviews and medal ceremonies.[9]

In 2009, Jones became the new face of the World Animal Protection Australia & New Zealand anti-whaling campaign.[10]

Jones confirmed her retirement from swimming in November 2012. She is planning to begin a university degree in psychology in 2013.[1]

Career[edit]

Jones was selected for the Australian team at just 14 years of age,[11] qualifying in the 100 m breaststroke by winning the event at the Australian Championships in May 2000 in Sydney, ending the international career of former world champion Samantha Riley.

2000 Olympics[edit]

She swam a personal best in the final at the Sydney Olympics to claim an unexpected silver medal behind American Megan Quann.[12] She also combined with Dyana Calub, Petria Thomas and Susie O'Neill in the 4 × 100 m medley relay to win silver, again behind the Americans. Jones left school aged 15 to concentrate on swimming.[13]

At the 2001 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, and Jones was now one of the established swimmers and expected to win medals, but finished second to China's Luo Xuejuan. It also marked her international debut in the 200 m breaststroke, where she came fourth place (2:25.46s). She also collected a gold in the medley relay alongside Calub, Thomas and Sarah Ryan, the first time that the United States had been beaten at world or Olympic level in this event, excluding the systemically doped East German and Chinese teams.

In 2002, she claimed her first titles on the international arena, claiming the breaststroke double at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.[14] Australia also won the medley relay.

In 2003, Jones set an Australian record in the 200 m individual medley earlier in the year, in an experimental event. Later at the 2003 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, Spain, she started confidently, setting a world record in the semifinals of the 100 m breaststroke (1:06.37s). However, she succumbed to nerves in the final and came third, with Luo again winning the event. She also achieved a silver in the 200 m breaststroke in Barcelona, behind Amanda Beard in (2:24.33s). She collected a bronze in the medley relay.

In the month leading up to the Athens Olympics, Jones set a world record (2:22.96) in the 200 m breaststroke in a meet in Brisbane, Australia. This led to high expectations of an even better performance in Athens, as Jones had not been rested prior to swimming the world record. However, it was reclaimed by Beard at the US Olympic trials only a few days later.

2004 Olympics[edit]

In Athens, Jones was again the quickest qualifier of the 100 m breaststroke, after setting an Olympic record (1:06.78) in the semifinals, which was almost two seconds clear of the then second fastest swimmer in the event's history, Amanda Beard. However, in the final race she finished in the bronze position. In the 200 m event, she attempted to take an attacking approach, but faded in the last 50 m and was pipped to the wall by Amanda Beard, winning silver. Australia went on the win the medley relay, giving Jones her first Olympic gold.

Jones' world record in the 100 m breaststroke was broken at the 2005 World Aquatics Championships in Montreal, Canada by Jessica Hardy of the United States in 1:06.20, again in the semifinal. However, this time the expectations turned to Hardy and Jones turned the tables and beat her to the wall, breaking through for her first win at world or Olympic level.[15] She also broke the world record for the 200 m breaststroke (2:21.72s), on 29 July 2005. In the process she won the gold medal, leaving her rivals more than six metres behind. For her efforts she was named by Swimming World magazine as the Female World Swimmer of the Year in 2005.

The changes which occurred in 2005 continued to pay off at the Australian Commonwealth Games Swimming Trials in early 2006 where Jones broke her personal best time in the 50 m (30.85) and took 1.18 seconds off her previous world record in the 200 m breaststroke (2.20:54). On Day 5 of the Australian Nationals Jones swam a world record in the 100 m breaststroke final. Jones won the Australian championship in a time of 1:05.71 which lowered the previous mark by 0.49 s.

Jones completed a clean sweep of the breaststroke events (50 m, 100 m and 200 m) at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, this is the only time this has been achieved in the breaststroke events in the games' history. In the butterfly events (50m, 100 m and 200m) at the 2002 Manchester Games, Petria Thomas was the first swimmer in Commonwealth Games history to complete a clean sweep. The 50 m events were introduced at the Manchester Games. In the 50 m breaststroke, an event she had only recently begun competing in, she defeated the reigning world champion and world record holder Jade Edmistone.[16] She later won another gold in the 200 m breaststroke and completed the sweep with the gold medal in the 100 m in a world record time of 1:05.09 – an effort that saw her own world record reduced 0.62 s and was declared "Beamonesque" by aquatics journalist Craig Lord, a reference to Bob Beamon's legendary long jump at the Mexico City Olympics. A fourth gold medal in world record time in the 4 × 100 m medley relay with Sophie Edington, Jessicah Schipper and Libby Lenton rounded off her Commonwealth Games.

In 2007, she competed in the World Championships and won the 100 m[17] and 200 m breaststroke and the 4 × 100 m medley relay, setting a world record in the relay. She also won silver in the 50 m breaststroke. She then left Brisbane and Widmer to move to Melbourne to train under Rohan Taylor, so that she could live with her fiancé Marty Pask, an Australian rules footballer with the Western Bulldogs who was delisted at the end of 2007. Her dissolution of a successful partnership raised eyebrows and many questioned whether putting her personal life ahead of a proven competitive formula would backfire in the pool.

In early 2008, she won the breaststroke double at the 2008 Australian Swimming Championships to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

Although missing the World Short Course Championships in Manchester due to the preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics she broke her own world record over 100 m breaststroke (SC) in 1:03,72 at the Telstra Grand Prix in Canberra.

2008 Olympics[edit]

Jones won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in 100 m breaststroke, touching the line a full body length ahead of her rival. Her time of 1:05.17 was 1.66 s faster than the American silver medalist Rebecca Soni. While she was the favorite to win in the 200 m breaststroke, she was beaten by Soni, who won gold in world record time. Jones took the silver. She also won a gold medal in the 4 × 100 m medley relay, with the Australian team breaking the previous world record by three seconds.[citation needed]

Jones was awarded the Telstra Swimmer Of The Year award as part of the year's international all-star team, in Sydney in October 2008.[18]

At the World Cup meeting at Berlin, Germany, Jones set world records in the 100 and 200 m breaststroke (short course). Jones had a low key year and opted out of the 2009 World Championships.

2012 Olympics[edit]

Jones confirmed that she was aiming for the 2012 Olympics in London and competed at the Pan Pacific Championships and the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Jones confirmed her place on these teams by winning the 50, 100 and 200 m breaststroke at the 2010 Telstra Australian Swimming Championships.

At the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Irvine, California, in 2010, Jones collected 3 silver and a bronze. She competed in the 50 m breaststroke (bronze) 100 m breaststroke (silver), 200 m breaststroke (silver), and the 4 × 100 m medley relay (silver) events. In all four of events, she was behind the Americans; in the 50 m she was behind Jessica Hardy and fellow Australian Leiston Pickett and in the 100 and 200 m she was behind Rebecca Soni.

After earning selection to compete at the 2012 London Olympics, Jones became the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympic games.[19] Together with Emily Seebohm, Alicia Coutts and Melanie Schlanger, she won a silver medal for Australia in the 4 × 100 m medley relay.

Retirement[edit]

Jones confirmed her retirement from swimming on 16 November 2012.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Leisel retires from the pool". ABC News. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Leisel Jones". london2012.olympics.com.au. Australian Olympic Committee. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Cowley, Michael; Saltau, Chloe (18 March 2006). "Victory falls in Jones' lap". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  4. ^ "Leisel Jones". ABC Online. Retrieved 2003-03-09. 
  5. ^ "Schipper stings like a bee". Sydney Morning Herald. 12 August 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  6. ^ "Leisel Jones breaks her own record". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  7. ^ "Lethal Leisel Throws Down A Global Challenge". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  8. ^ "Leisel Jones: brat's not the real me". Sydney Morning Herald. 26 February 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  9. ^ "Finally Leisel Jones wins individual Olympic gold". The Australian. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  10. ^ World Animal Protection (1 April 2009). "Leisel Jones speaks out about whaling cruelty". World Animal Protection. 
  11. ^ Wilson, Jim (14 March 2007). "I'm feeling lethal, Leisel warns". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  12. ^ "ESPN Sydney Swimming". Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  13. ^ "Leisel Jones takes on Year 8s". ABC Online. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  14. ^ "BBC Sport Commonwealth Games 2002 Statistics". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  15. ^ "Montreal 2005 Results". Archived from the original on 28 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-09. 
  16. ^ "Swimming Schedule and Results". Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  17. ^ "12th FINA World Championships". Archived from the original on 6 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-09. 
  18. ^ Daily Telegraph (30 October 2008). "Leisel Jones leaves Swimmer of the Year Awards trophy in back of taxi". The Daily Telegraph. 
  19. ^ "Australian swimmer Leisel Jones makes fourth Olympics". ESPN. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  20. ^ Balym, Todd (16 November 2012). "Swimming great Leisel Jones says she knew her time was up after the London Games". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 

External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by

South Africa Penelope Heyns
United States Jessica Hardy
Women's 100 metre breaststroke
world record holder (long course)

21 July 2003 – 25 July 2005
3 February 2006 – 27 July 2009
Succeeded by

United States Jessica Hardy
United States Rebecca Soni
Preceded by

United States Amanda Beard
United States Amanda Beard
Women's 200 metre breaststroke
world record holder (long course)

10 July 2004 – 12 July 2004
29 July 2005 – 15 August 2008
Succeeded by

United States Amanda Beard
United States Rebecca Soni
Awards
Preceded by
Ukraine Yana Klochkova
World Swimmer of the Year
2005–2006
Succeeded by
France Laure Manaudou
Preceded by
Australia Petria Thomas
Australia Jodie Henry
World Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year
2003
2005–2006
Succeeded by
Australia Jodie Henry
Australia Libby Lenton
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Hungary László Cseh
Mare Nostrum Tour Overall Winner
2006
Succeeded by
United States Tara Kirk