Elena Gˇmez, who has just celebrated her 20th birthday, has announced her decision to retire from competitive gymnastics. She is the only Spanish gymnast to win a World Championship gold medal in the floor event. Since her return from the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, she has not been able to compete. She took the decision to withdraw from the Spanish national permanent training camp in Madrid, and tried to continue training on her own at her home in Manacor, in Mallorca, which, coincidentally, also happens to be the home town of Rafael Nadal.
"She's done everything possible to enable her to carry on, but her body's changed, and gymnastics is a sport which requires you to give 200%. 80% is not good enough," said national team coach, Jes˙s Carballo, who was always very supportive of Gˇmez's decision to try and continue training at home, and who was by her side when she announced her decision.
Elena became Spain's first world floor champion in 2002 and took bronze the following year. She won European silver in 2004, and during this period was always among the world's top eight all round gymnasts. Her biggest disappointment was her failure to qualify for the finals of the Athens Olympics floor event, when Spain's Patricia Moreno finished among the medal winners.
Elena's injury problems started last year when she broke her pelvis during training, a setback she has never been able to completely recover from.