BEIJING: Chinese diving queen Guo Jingjing has called it quits after a stellar career that included four Olympic gold medals and multiple world championship titles, the national team leader has announced.
Guo -- arguably the country's most famous female athlete, also known for her good looks and long romance with the son of Hong Kong's Olympic Committee president -- has submitted her application for retirement, state media said.
"She made it clear that she would not train and compete, so she will not appear in the London Olympic Games," the team leader, Zhou Jihong, was quoted as saying at the weekend, in comments published Monday by the China Daily.
"She is out of the national team. We respect her decision."
The 29-year-old Guo has won six Olympic medals -- four of them gold -- at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. At the world championships, she posted five consecutive victories in both the individual and synchronised 3m springboard.
Guo also has 17 World Cup titles, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
In the past, she sometimes faced criticism from the nation's sports authorities for her lucrative sponsorship agreements and public appearances.
The China Daily reported that Guo was studying English and "preparing for a new life after competitive diving".
Some reports have said she will marry Kenneth Fok this year, but Guo has not confirmed that.
"I think I have fulfilled my task, so the London Games is not what I have in mind now. The opportunities should be given to other members of the team," Guo told The Bund, a Shanghai-based magazine, in the past week.
Zhou said it would take time to find a star of Guo's calibre to lead the team.
"Grooming a star will be one of the major tasks for the Chinese national diving team," Xinhua quoted Zhou as saying.
"Guo ushered in a new era, and now no one could take charge as she did."