Lynsey Sharp, the 2012 European 800m champion, has announced her retirement from athletics at the age of 33.
Sharp made the announcement on social media, saying that she had “given it everything I’m willing to give; mentally, physically and financially”.
The Scot made a comeback in January from injury and childbirth after more than three years away from the track. However, she was unable to regain the form that saw her dominate the 800m for several years.
“I’ve been wrestling with this decision for months now,” Sharp said. “I’ve given it everything I’m willing to give; mentally, physically and financially. But I’ve come to the realisation that I can’t push myself any further. My body is telling me it’s time to call it a day.
“I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved in my career. I’ve been European champion, a Commonwealth silver medallist and a two-time Olympian. I’ve also achieved a lot personally, becoming a mother to a beautiful baby girl.
“Now it’s time for me to focus on the next chapter of my life. I’m not sure what that holds yet, but I’m excited to find out. I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received from my family, friends, coaches and fans throughout my career. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
Sharp’s career was marked by both success and setbacks. She burst onto the scene in 2011 when she won the European Indoor Championships. She then went on to win the European title outdoors the following year.
However, Sharp’s career was plagued by injuries. She missed the 2013 World Championships after suffering a stress fracture in her foot. She then missed the 2014 Commonwealth Games after undergoing surgery on her ankle.
Despite the setbacks, Sharp always managed to bounce back. She returned to form in 2015 and won a silver medal at the European Championships. She then followed that up with another silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2016.
Sharp’s career highlight was undoubtedly her victory at the 2012 European Championships. She produced a stunning performance to win gold in a time of 1:58.51.
Sharp’s retirement marks the end of an era in British athletics. She was one of the most popular and successful athletes of her generation. She will be remembered for her determination, her resilience and her ability to produce her best when it mattered most.
Sharp’s retirement has been met with tributes from the athletics community.
Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, said: “Lynsey has been a fantastic ambassador for athletics. She has won medals at the highest level and has always been a great role model for young athletes. I wish her all the best for the future.”
Paula Radcliffe, the former world marathon record holder, said: “Lynsey has been an inspiration to me and to many other athletes. She is a true champion and I have no doubt that she will be successful in whatever she does next.”
Sharp’s retirement will leave a void in the British 800m team. She was the team’s leader and mentor for many years. It will be up to the next generation of athletes to step up and fill her shoes.
However, Sharp’s legacy will live on. She has inspired a generation of young athletes to take up the sport. She is a true champion and she will be dearly missed.