Olympic & World Gold but unbeaten record the highlight as 'remarkable' Jason Smyth retires from athletics!
The Eglinton sprinter retires never having lost a competitive Paralympic event across a career that saw him win gold medals over 100m and 200m at four Paralympic Games - Beijing (2008), London (2012), Rio de Janeiro (2016) and Tokyo (2021) - as well a numerous World and European golds. The 35-year old intends to continue journey with Paralympic Ireland as he revealed he is to take up the role of Strategy Manager with the organisation and says he cannot wait to start giving back to a sport which has given him so much over a remarkable career.
"The big day is finally here. I have decided to officially hang up the spikes," Smyth told his social media followers via Twitter, "It has been an incredible 18 year journey. I have competed at many Paralympic Games, World Championship and European Championships. I've won 21 gold medals but probably the thing I am most proud of is I was able to go unbeaten during that time.
"Obviously that would not happen without the support of many people, especially my family; my wide, my daughters and my parents. There has been lots of people on the track; coaches, physios, strength and conditioning, people who supported me and I’m really grateful for all the support throughout that time. Thank you and here's to the next chapter."
Smyth, who has less than 10% vision due to a condition known as Stargardt’s Disease, won a total of 21 medals and retires as current World European and Paralympic Champion at T13 100m and 200m. He is also the current world record holder in both events.
“I think now is the right time for me to step away from competitive Paralympic Sport," he added on Paralympic Ireland's website, "I lived and fulfilled the dream and now I hope to support the next generation of para-athletes on their journey.
"I have loved my time with Team Ireland and have had many incredible memories that I will really treasure from my time as an athlete. There are so many people that have helped me along the way from my coaches, support staff, to my teammates, partners and my competitors. I would especially like to pay tribute to my incredible and very patient family, especially my wife, Elise and my daughters Evie and Lottie.”
“I now look forward to joining my new teammates at Paralympics Ireland. I feel I have a lot to offer thanks to my experiences as an athlete and as someone that has been in the Paralympic and Disability sporting environment since my youth. I can’t wait to start this new stage of my career and give back to the sport that has meant so much to me.”
Smyth constantly redefined the sport during a glittering career that wasn't confined to Paralympic competition. The remarkable Co. Derry runner twice won the Irish National Championship (100m) and reached two European Championship semi-finals as part of Team Ireland, as well as competing at the World Championships. His 100m personal best of 10.22 makes him the fastest Northern Ireland athlete ever and the third fastest in Irish history.