By James Crook

Josefa Idem2 020113January 5 - Veteran canoeist Josefa Idem has announced her retirement from canoeing after competing at eight Olympic Games, winning five medals.

The 48-year-old won her first Olympic medal representing the country of her birth, West Germany, in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, taking home a bronze medal at the age of 20.

Idem became eligible to represent Italy in 1992, gaining citizenship after marrying her Italian coach Guglielmo Guerrini.

She went on to represent Italy at six Games from Barcelona in 1992 to London 2012, winning a gold medal at Sydney 2000, as well as silver at both Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, and a bronze medal at Atlanta 1996 in the K-1 500m.

Idem also won five World Championship gold medals, nine silver medals and eight bronze medals over the course of her career, which spanned three decades.

Josefa Idem 020113Josefa Idem is the first woman to compete in eight Olympic Games

After competing at London 2012, she became the first woman to compete in eight Olympic Games.

Idem's retirement follows that of France's Tony Estanguet, three-times Olympic canoeing gold medallist, earlier this year. 

Idem writes for a sports newspaper and hopes to cover the 2016 Games in Rio De Janeiro as a journalist.

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