World Athletics Championships London 2017 gold medallist Danny Talbot has announced his retirement from athletics today, after battling an injury which has kept him away from the sport for the past couple of years.
Among his other career highlights were 200m Bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 European Championships, as well as European Under 23 Silver and Gold in 2013.
Talbot spoke to British Athletics to explain why now was the right time for him to hang up his spikes.
“Ironically I am back healthy and fit now, but for me it’s absolutely the right time to move on. It is nice to know it is my decision to finish and it has not been taken away or forced upon me. The last few years may not have been the best, but I can genuinely look back and be happy and say it’s been fun!
“In February this year I was stuck in Texas during the massive snow storm and I was in my apartment limping around with an injury and that was a really miserable time with me being injured for six to eight weeks. But it made me sure I would not finish in that way as I love the sport and did not want to part on bad terms.
“Athletics has shaped me as a person, I have been able to travel the world and compete in major championships and I have so much fondness and positive memories from the sport, I’m nothing but grateful for what it has given me.”
Talbot spoke nostalgically about the incredible experiences and opportunities the sport has given him, including his first ever GB & NI senior vest at the Glasgow Indoors in 2011, competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and being part of the GB & NI relay programme.
“Thinking back, it was an amazing time from that relay at the World Championships in Beijing in 2015 where it all fell apart, building back up together, growing closer as a team and getting it right.
“I genuinely remember us knowing as far back as February in 2017 that we would win gold that year at London 2017. We felt so confident in each other and when we did win, I didn’t feel relief, just pure joy as that’s exactly what we knew we could do.
“Because of this, I’m determined to give back to the sport and it’s my aim to stay involved. I did my coaching qualification last year and I’m looking forward to seeing what direction I’ll go in.”
Though he still wants to be involved in track and field, Talbot is also looking forward to the other doors retirement will open for him.
“I gave up golf at 15 and I loved it, I’m looking forward to taking that up again and had my first lesson in 15 years not long ago. It’s nice to be able to do something relatively normal that you avoid as an athlete like playing 5-a-side with a group of mates!
“I also took a holiday at a ‘regular’ time of year this summer instead of out of season and can now see friends and family far more often which is harder when you live where you train. I’ve not regretted or begrudged the different lifestyle for one second but it’s nice now to live differently.”
Talbot also took the time to thank all those who have supported him since the start of his career:
“I’ve been fortunate to work with some great coaches but equally some really great people who have really shaped my life. From Dan Cossins who oversaw my early senior years, to Benke (Blomkvist) and Vince Anderson who have helped me so much.
“Stephen Maguire showed so much faith in me on the relay programme and Christian Malcolm was a great mentor to me both as an athlete and when he was our team coach for the relay. Not to mention Jen Savage the sport psych who has been central to many of my successes. Also the late Neil Black who was my physio when I first broke into the team and then my performance director, just a really good man.
“I’ve had the benefit of some really experienced people who know how to balance competing, alongside all the other aspects of athletics. So I am really grateful for my agents Jane Cowmeadow and Caroline Feith, who have guided me so well. And it goes without saying I wouldn’t have managed any of it without my brilliant friends, family and loved ones backing me at every step.
“The danger with listing people is you always miss someone, but I hope people realise how incredibly grateful I am for their support and input.”