Hannah Mills retires from sailing after making history at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
Welsh sportstar and history maker Hannah Mills has announced her retirement from Olympic sailing following her gold medal success in Tokyo 2020. Teammates Giles Scott and Stuart Bithell also follow suit in retiring.
The team represented Team GB in the Tokyo Olympics this summer, and were amongst the sailing squad that earned an impressive medal tally of three gold, one silver and one bronze.
Hannah Mills wrote her name in history as she become the most successful female sailer of all time when she defended her 470 title with teammate Eilidh McIntyre in the Tokyo 2020 games.
She also became Wales’ most successful female Olympian ever as she became the first Welsh woman to earn three medals at three consecutive Olympic games.
Mills, from Dinas Powys, picked up sailing as a hobby during a family holiday to Cornwall, aged just 8 years old.
In 2002, when Mills was just 14, she told Tessa Jowel – Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport at the time – that if the Olympics were to be held in London, she would win gold.
The sailer went on to earn her first gold medal in 2006 at the World Championships in Las Palmas, and when the Olympic games came to London, she just fell short and obtained a silver medal alongside Saskia Clark. It was four years later in Rio 2016 that she earned her first Olympic gold – and the rest is history.
Mills said: “It was a difficult decision and yet also an easy one,”
“What made it hard was how incredible the Olympic Games is – it’s like nothing else on earth.
“The 470 is going mixed for Paris 2024 and for me, in terms of my career, this is the perfect time to step away and explore other options.”
In regards to become Wales’ best ever female sailer, she said
“To become the most successful female sailor is insane,”
“Growing up as a little girl, it’s something I had in my mind that I wanted to do – first to win a gold medal and then to win the most.”
Teammate and double gold medal winner Giles Scott announced his retirement too, meaning his Finn class set is to be discontinued in the Paris 2024 games.
“I’ve been in Olympic class sailing now for nearly 14 years, done two Olympic Games, had a really good innings and now it’s time for me to move on to other things.”
Stuart Bithell will also retire after earning a prestiged gold in the men’s 49er class.
Mark Robinson, the manager of the Royal Yachting Association Olympic Performance spoke out about the announcements, saying:
“These individuals have made such a huge impact on our sport, their achievements speak for themselves, and they’ve inspired countless youngsters to follow in their footsteps.
“I feel very proud to have led a team full of such great athletes, and those retiring will be sorely missed.”
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