Competing at both the Beijing and London Olympic Games, Han..."> Competing at both the Beijing and London Olympic Games, Han..." />
Double-Olympian Hannah Whelan has announced her retirement from elite gymnastics bringing to an end an illustrious career that made her one of Britain's greatest women's artistic gymnasts.
Competing at both the Beijing and London Olympic Games, Hannah has been a consistent and committed member of the GBR gymnastics team playing a leading role in the increased success of the women's squad whilst also claiming individual successes that have seen her twice crowned British all-around champion (2010 and 2011) as well as taking European Championships and Commonwealth Games team and individual medal glory.
Aged 22 and following a successful 2014 which saw Hannah help guide Britain to European silver and World Championship 6th along with Team England to Commonwealth gold, she has made the decision to now end her long career at the top, saying :
"I know I'm now ready to stop competing. After London 2012 I took a bit of time to decide to carry on as I wanted to compete at a Commonwealth Games so I set that as my goal. To achieve what we did as a team last year definitely made that decision worthwhile. Since the World Championships year I've grown used to the idea of not competing but I still think it will be strange at first when I see the other girls in action – of course I'll be cheering them all on.
I've always loved and will always love gymnastics, that sense of achievement after every session always kept me going and wanting to better myself. Competing in two Olympic Games, winning British titles and representing my country for so long has been incredible. To see how far the sport has come on in my time is unbelievable, I'm definitely leaving the sport on a high and I'm so proud to have been a part of helping get the British team to where we are today."
Hannah has also been a leader at the famed City of Liverpool gymnastics club, continuing the great legacy of the club dubbed the 'home of Champions' that has produced numerous Olympic and World Championship level British gymnasts. One of Hannah's long term teammates at both the City of Liverpool Gymnastics club and for Great Britain was Beth Tweddle MBE who commented:
"Hannah was always a great team mate to have around. On the days where things were hard she was always there to put a smile on my face. What she achieved throughout her career was fantastic and something she can be immensely proud of. She played a vital role in the team successes for both City Of Liverpool and GBR and I wish her all the best in all of her future ambitions."
Post-retirement Hannah will now turn her focus to finishing her degree as well as looking to continue her journey with gymnastics.
She has committed to helping to inspire the next generation of young gymnasts by passing on her experience and knowledge of the sport and will be attending the forthcoming British Championships at Echo Arena, Liverpool from 27-29th March to cheer on her teammates and provide expert insight as part of the British Gymnastics media team.
Longer-term Hannah will also be taking part in the second cohort of the British Gymnastics Athlete to Coach Programme in which she will receive support and high level mentorship to help her progress to becoming a potential high performance coach of the future. The Athlete to Coach Programme provides an important transitional support to Hannah post her gymnastics career, but also helps in retaining talent, knowledge and experience within gymnastics.
photos Janos Schmidt