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Winter Olympics legend and Kent sports star Lizzy Yarnold announces retirement

By KentOnline reporter

Sevenoaks skeleton racer and Britain's most successful Winter Olympian Lizzy Yarnold has announced her retirement from the sport.

The announcement comes eight months after Yarnold retained her Olympic title in Pyeongchang, South Korea, making her also the most successful Olympic skeleton athlete of all time.

She also retires with the 2013/14 World Cup title and the 2015 World Championships gold.

Fittingly, the 29-year-old brought the curtain down on her illustrious career at the Maidstone Grammar School for Girls (MGGS), where she was the head girl.

"With a clear mind, and with really good health, I feel that it's the perfect moment to say that I am retiring," Yarnold said.

"I realised I have achieved everything, way beyond everything I hoped to achieve in my sport.

"I guess 10 years of being in the same thing, maybe I'm ready for something else on my CV."

Sevenoaks skeleton racer with her Olympic golds Picture: Gary Browne. (3159990)
Sevenoaks skeleton racer with her Olympic golds Picture: Gary Browne. (3159990)

Speaking to students about her journey from MGGS to the top of the Olympic podium in Sochi and Pyeongchang, Yarnold described the long training sessions, breakfasts consisting of tinned tuna and a desire to inspire the next generation of athletes to follow in her footsteps.

Yarnold carrying the flag at the Winter Olympics
Yarnold carrying the flag at the Winter Olympics

"I have set myself high expectations. I have really worked hard, but I've made some really amazing friends and had a really good time being a skeleton athlete.

"The legacy (I want to leave) is that sport is meant to be fun. It is a competition, but it is still meant to bring you joy.

"I was so glad I was able to sing our national anthem on top of the podium with so much pride and integrity.

"That's what sport is all about."

With Team GB achieving a record medal haul in Pyeongchang, Yarnold feels she leaves the sport in good nick: "I'll definitely stay involved in skeleton.

"I want to give back to a sport that's given me so many years and so much love, so I'm mentoring a couple of up-and-coming athletes.

Former Maidstone schoolgirl Lizzy Yarnold in skeleton action
Former Maidstone schoolgirl Lizzy Yarnold in skeleton action

"I will also continue to stand up for women in sport and all the anti-doping issues we've had in recent times.

"We need to keep banging the drum that clean and fair competition is the only way forward. We need to make sure our voice is heard."

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