Lynsey decides she’s reached finished line after superb track career

Thursday 14th December 2023

Photo by Bobby Gavin

BBC Sport website story 

Lynsey Sharp has called time on a superb track career.

The double Olympian, and former European champion and Commonwealth Games medallist, has taken the decision after initially making a comeback following motherhood.

But now Lynsey, who has son Max with husband Andy Butchart, will focus on ‘other priorities’ in her life.

Tributes flooded in from top names in the sport after the Edinburgh AC athlete posted on social media yesterday and all at scottishathletics would like to add: ‘Thanks for the memories and good luck for the future.’

The daughter of top Scots Cameron and Carol, Lynsey had a stellar career at 800m which included a European title in 2012 and silver two years later.

Silver medal was a big reward at Hampden at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games after being ill in the preceding 24 hours – and a National Record in the 2016 Olympic final was another top class performance.

Lynsey Sharp crosses the line to claim silver

Finish line at Hampden as Lynsey lands heard-earned Commonwealth Games silver (photo by Bobby Gavin)

‘Throughout my career I was often asked about the sacrifices I had made to be an athlete – I never saw these life choices as sacrifices; I didn’t want to spend my time doing anything else,’ said Lynsey.

‘Time goes on and your priorities change. Now I do feel I’m making sacrifices in other aspects of my life in order to continue pursuing my athletics career.

‘And that’s why I know now is the right time to hang up my spikes. I’ve given it everything I’m willing to give; mentally, physically and financially.

As with any sports career, it’s been a rocky road. The highest of highs and some very low points. Every single experience has shaped me into the person I am today and I will always be thankful for everything this sport has taught me.

‘I have travelled the world, made lifelong friends, trained with some of the best athletes in the world and raced in front of some pretty insane crowds.’

Action from indoors right at the start of 2023 as Lynsey made a comeback (photo by Bobby Gavin)

Lynsey raced indoors at the Emirates early in 2023 and had a few outdoor runs over the summer, too. But she feels the time is right to finish.

‘I wanted this comeback after Max to go better and, if I made a lot of sacrifices, I could definitely race for another season,’ she said.

‘But this isn’t something you can do half hearted. You can be a mum and an athlete but it’s really hard . . . and you have to really want to do it. So respect all the athlete mums out there even more than you already do.

‘It’s taken me months to come to this decision. In my heart I knew, but it takes time to process and come to terms with such a huge decision.

‘One of the most relatable things someone said to me during this process is that ending a career in professional sport is like losing your best friend and having to find a new one. I really felt that and thank you to everyone who has guided me through the past few months.’

Lynsey in action in Rio at the 2016 Olympics where she finished sixth

Social media messages of support and thanks have flooded in following the annoucement by Lynsey . . .

Geoff Wightman:

With your European gold in 2012, you opened the floodgates for all of the Scottish athletes who have piled through at international level subsequently. There has to be a pioneer and a first role model and this century that was you. Thank you and congratulations, especially for Glasgow 2014. Good luck. 👍

Chris O’Hare:

Congratulations on such an awe inspiring career! I love showing the girls I coach videos of your races!

I can’t wait to show Quinn your races and tell her stories about your grit and determination!! Love you guys!

Eilish McColgan: 

‘What a career! Proud to have been alongside you for a good chunk of it – starting at Scottish Primary Champs where you absolutely spanked everyone! 😂

‘Watching you win Europeans was what made me believe us Scots could actually break into GB teams! And I’ve no doubt you’ll have created that pathway for many others to break through. Max will be proud of his mum that’s for sure! ❤️

Eilidh Doyle:

Congratulations on a great career, it’s never an easy choice but you’re right, you have to be totally in it! Enjoy the next part! 💙🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Paula Radcliffe:

A champion on and off the track! Congratulations and enjoy this next stage also. You still have many great things left to achieve ahead of you. ❤️👏

Keely Hodgkinson:

Congratulations Lynsey, you were such an inspiration to me growing up, wish you all the best🥰

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Tags: Edinburgh AC, Eilidh Doyle, Eilish McColgan, Geoff Wightman, Lynsey Sharp

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