Paralympic track cycling champion Sophie Thornhill announces retirement, aged 24

Sophie Thornhill, the reigning Paralympic, double globe and double Commonwealth winner, has announced her retirement from elite activity.

The Poynton-born rider, who was born with oculocutaneous albinism, a affliction which impacts pigmentation of the pores and skin, hair, and eyes, joined British Cycling’s Olympic Progress Programme as a 16 calendar year-aged and swiftly gained environment titles (and earth records).

Initially piloted by Rachel James, sister of Olympic silver medallist Becky, Thornhill switched to Helen Scott in 2014. The pair went on to dominate the tandem sprint and tandem kilo disciplines with each other, profitable multiple planet, Commonwealth and Paralympic medals.

Thornhill, having said that, underwent surgery on her hip previous 12 months and in an job interview with Telegraph Activity in January, just ahead of this year’s Para-Cycling Observe Entire world Championships in Milton, Canada, she admitted that she felt like “a 23 12 months-old with the hip of a 90 12 months-old”.

She has now made a decision that with the 12-thirty day period postponement to Tokyo 2020, she would choose to focus on her instruction. “My program was usually to retire following Tokyo,” Thornhill mentioned in a assertion. “So when the dates improved, I had a genuinely hard decision to make. Just after a whole lot of considered and guidance, I am prepared to transfer on to the upcoming chapter of my daily life and emphasis my strength on another of my passions. I am thrilled to say I will commence researching background at Manchester Metropolitan University in September.

“Cycling has been a massive component of my existence for the previous 12 years and has delivered me with some of the greatest highlights in my life, which include turning into Paralympic Winner in 2016 and placing world records at the Commonwealth Game titles in 2018.

“I have fulfilled and worked with awesome people today together the journey, the most critical of which is Scottie (pilot, Helen Scott). I simply cannot thank her adequate for the astounding reminiscences we have created with each other.

“I have also worked with the most remarkable support staff, lots of of whom have gone higher than and past for me and they have been unbelievable in their guidance. I’d like to thank all people in the Great Britain Cycling Group for almost everything they have completed for me and my career, and I’d like to would like them the absolute ideal of luck for Tokyo up coming calendar year.”

Stephen Park, General performance Director for the Wonderful Britain Biking Workforce, claimed: “On behalf of absolutely everyone on the workforce, I would like to congratulate Sophie on an superb vocation and thank her for the contributions she has created not just to para-biking but to para activity in typical.

“Sophie can acquire delight in the point that she was undeniably the very best feminine tandem sprinter in the globe for around 6 a long time, taking victories in differing track problem with diverse pilots.

“Off the bike, I have been amazed with the extraordinary maturity and composure Sophie displays, which has created her a beneficial member of our Rider Representative Commission and about the yrs I have known her she has really identified her voice which has aided with her passion for advancing para sport.

“Of study course, with 432 times to go till the Tokyo Paralympic Game titles, Sophie’s departure implies there is an chance for a blind or visually impaired rider to sign up for the crew and to prepare with Paralympic winner Helen Scott who is as eager as ever to retain her title in Tokyo.”

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