Kate Howey, one of the biggest names in British judo, has decided to call time on her 16-year illustrious career.
KATE HOWEY FACTFILE
1973: Born, May 31.
1992: Bronze medal, Barcelona Olympics
1993: Silver medal at World Champs, bronze at European
1994: Bronze Euro Champs
1995: Bronze Euro Champs
1997: MBE for services to judo
Crowned world champion, Bronze Euro Champs.
1999: Bronze World
2000: Silver medal, Sydney Olympics
The 31-year-old competed at a national record four Olympic Games, capturing two medals - silver at Sydney 2000 and bronze at Barcelona in 1992.
She also won the World Championship in 1997 and had the honour of being Team GB's flagbearer at the Athens Olympics opening ceremony this summer.
Howey will stay involved in her sport, helping to identify stars of tomorrow.
The TeamBath player - the most successful British woman judoka to date - will continue in her role as a regional co-ordinator for the British Judo Association and talent-spot youngsters.
Howey signed off by winning a silver medal at the European Team Championships in Paris on Sunday.
She won her under-70kg contest in Great Britain's semi-final against Italy, but she then lost to France's Amina Abdellatif in the final as Britain went down 6-1 to France.
Howey, who took up her chosen sport at the age of seven and was made an MBE six years
ago, said: "I wouldn't swap what I've achieved for anything.
"Judo is like a drug to me. I'm still going to practise judo - but I won't be competing any more."
Her memories of carrying the Union flag in Athens remain fresh in her mind,
and she remembered: "It was an amazing atmosphere.
"I couldn't take anything in for the first 20m or 30m. I was just worried about tripping up or dropping the flag.
"After that I started enjoying it. It was unbelievable to be there with 75,000 people in the stadium shouting and screaming.
"I was particularly pleased for the sport of judo, because it helped to put
the sport in the spotlight."
Howey has trained at the University of Bath since 1999 and Ged Roddy, the centre's director of sport, paid tribute to her achievements.
"Kate has been a magnificent ambassador for judo and for TeamBath," he said.
"Her achievements have been phenomenal and she has been a terrific role model for young sports people.
"Kate has immense expertise in the sport and we're delighted that she will continue to be involved in judo," he added.