Shauna Coxsey says she has received an “overwhelming” response from fans after announcing that she will retire from professional climbing after this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.
The 28-year-old is one of Team GB’s leading medal contenders at the Games and made the surprise, under the radar announcement on Instagram on Sunday.
Coxsey recently made her return to competitive action in the USA but was unable to make the semi-finals at the Salt Lake City World Cup, admitting that it was not what she was hoping for.
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But she has also been struggling with a back issue ever since having an epidural for knee surgery last year, and said after that disappointment that the pain “was too much” to deal with.
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Coxsey has not revealed whether that was the main reason for stepping away from the sport, instead saying there were “many” contributing factors and that she made up her mind a while ago.
But despite her announcement, she says she is “channelling everything” she has left for her last competition as a climber - when the sport makes its Olympic debut.
“After years of being ready, years of preparation, off seasons spent fighting to get to the start line, years of harnessing the desire, the determination and the belief it feels so wrong to admit I no longer want to do competitions,” Coxsey said on Instagram.
“It feels alien. I know how to compete. I know how to come back from injury. How to embrace the highs and navigate the lows. I’ve done it. Time and time again. I know how to be up there with the best. I’ve stood on 30 World Cup podiums, won 11 gold medals. I’ve been there no matter what was thrown my way. But this time it’s different. I’m different, the world is different.
“I know that I have one fight left in me and despite so many unknowns it feels right to be putting everything I have left into such a special moment for our sport.
The Olympics will be my last event as a professional competition climber. I’ve thought long and hard about this and I have many emotions. I made this decision a little while back due to many reasons. But right now all I can think about is how grateful I am. The breadth and depth of my experiences is hard to comprehend. This sport has given me so, so much. And to this wonderful community who have supported me through the highs and the lows and I can’t thank you enough!
“I can’t help but think of all the rock climbs that I’ve been putting on hold for this moment and I’m excited to keep sharing this wild life of mine with you all. But for now my focus remains firmly on being the best that I can be and getting off the ground with a smile on my face out in Tokyo!”
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In the past few weeks, Coxsey has also got married after saying that Covid had cancelled their celebrations a few times, and said she has been taken aback by the “heartwarming” comments she has received since announcing her decision.
She will get her campaign underway in Tokyo on August 4.
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