Jessica Ennis-Hill, who won heptathlon gold for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, has retired from athletics.
The 30-year-old had hinted at retirement after winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics in August.
In a post on social media, Ennis-Hill – also a double world champion – said it was “one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make”.
“I’ve always said I wanted to leave on a high and have no regrets,” she added.
Ennis-Hill’s heptathlon gold was one of the most iconic moments of London 2012’s ‘Super Saturday’.
But she missed out on retaining her Olympic title in Rio by 35 points to Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam. Speaking afterwards, she said she would not rush a decision over ending her career.
In her statement on Thursday, she said “retiring now is right”.
“I want to thank my family and incredible team who have spent so much of their time supporting me and enabling me to achieve my dreams,” she added.
“Also, a huge thank you to all those people who have supported and followed my career over the years.”
After winning Olympic gold in London, Ennis-Hill had her first child, Reggie, in 2014 and won a second world title just 13 months later.
British Athletics described her record as an athlete as “phenomenal”, adding: “And that’s without considering the challenges of returning from pregnancy to win world gold and Olympic silver.”
Retirement means she will not return to the stadium where she won Olympic gold for the 2017 World Championships in London in August 2017.
Ennis-Hill’s statement in full
“Amazing memories… From my first world title in Berlin 2009 to Rio 2016 I’m so fortunate to have had such an amazing career within the sport I love and this has been one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make.
“But I know that retiring now is right. I’ve always said I want to leave my sport on a high and have no regrets and I can truly say that.
“I want to thank my family and incredible team who have spent so much of their time supporting me and enabling me to achieve my dreams.
“Also a huge thank you to all those people who have supported and followed my career over the years.”
What she won
Ennis-Hill’s first medal came at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne at the age of 20, when she took bronze behind fellow British athlete Kelly Sotherton.
She then missed out on the medals at the 2007 World Championships and had a year out with injury – missing the Beijing Olympics – before beginning a period of domination with gold at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
She followed that up with another gold at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona, Spain and then won silver at the 2011 Worlds in Daegu, South Korea before heading to her home Olympics in London in 2012 as an overwhelming favourite.
She delivered gold on ‘Super Saturday’, comfortably winning in a new British and Commonwealth record.
After missing the 2014 season to have her son, Reggie, she returned to win her second world title in Beijing in 2015 and then finished second at the Rio Olympics this summer.
In total, Ennis-Hill retires with four major outdoor gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.
Tom Fordyce, chief sports writer
If the timing of her retirement is no great surprise – the emergence of Nafi Thiam at this summer’s Olympics moved heptathlon to a new level – Ennis-Hill’s career has still been about the gloriously unexpected: winning world titles and Olympic golds when she was supposed to be too small to succeed, overcoming stress fractures that cost her early championship chances, beating women once banned for doping and others who were only retrospectively sanctioned.
Her triumph at London 2012 was one of the iconic moments of an impossible fortnight; to then win back her world crown as the mother of a young son was arguably a greater achievement still. In a tainted era, a splendid role model. British sport has been lucky to have her.
Fellow British heptathlete Katerina Johnson-Thompson: “A sad day for athletics! A real inspiration to me and so many others. Well done on a incredible career.”
British Athletics performance director Neil Black: “The entire performance team of coaches, athletes and support staff will miss her at events.
“Not only has she competed at the highest level, but she has been a warm and positive presence within the GB team and a great example to the younger team members.”
Former Commonwealth heptathlon champion Kelly Sotherton: “It’s sad to hear that @J_Ennis has retired before @London2017. She has achieved the pinnacle of sport and is a fabulous role model for anyone.”
Former Commonwealth champion sprinter Dwain Chambers: “Yet another talented star has left us! Enjoy life @J_Ennis.”
Commonwealth champion gymnast Becky Downie: “Congrats on an incredible career @J_Ennis, one of @TeamGB’s greatest 🇬🇧You’ll be missed!!”
Former Commonwealth champion sprinter Dai Greene: “Sad that we won’t get to see you compete again, such a hero to me and so many other athletes. Enjoy your retirement @J_Ennis.”
Former Commonwealth 400m champion Iwan Thomas: “One of the true greats of our sport @J_Ennis hanging up spikes. Truly wish her family all the best for the future. One of life’s winners.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/37641093