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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 10:45 GMT
Grey Thompson confirms retirement
Dame Tanni Grey Thompson
Grey Thompson will make her last GB appearance in May
Dame Tanni Grey Thompson, Britain's most successful Paralympian, has announced her retirement.

The 37-year-old will make her last appearance for Great Britain at May's Paralympic World Cup in Manchester.

Grey Thompson won 16 medals as a wheelchair racer from five Paralympics, including 11 golds, as well as six London Marathons - her last in 2002.

The Welsh star was made a Dame of the British Empire in the New Year's Honours list in 2005.

"I have always said that I would wake up one day and know that I would not want to do it any more," said Grey Thompson.

"There are other things that I want to do and if I want to be successful I need to devote more time to those things."

In the minds of the British public, she has come to symbolise Paralympic sport at its very best

Richard Caborn,
Minister for Sport

The Cardiff-born athlete, who is based in Redcar, added: "I am still competing at a very high level, but as I get older things get harder and I want to retire before I fall apart.

"Obviously my last race will be emotional, but for me it's business as usual. I will probably be sick, but I will prepare in the same way, go through my same routine, and hopefully win."

Since making her Paralympic debut as a 19-year-old in Seoul in 1988, where she won a bronze in the 400m, Grey Thompson has gone on to win a host of honours.

Four years later in Barcelona, she won four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m events and a relay silver.

In Atlanta in 1996, she retained her 800m crown but finished second in the 100m, 200m and 400m before returning to winning form in Sydney with a clean sweep from 100m-800m.

Dame Tanni Grey Thompson
I would welcome the opportunity to put something back into sport

In 2002, she gave birth to daughter Carys but quickly returned to action and three months later triumphed in the London Marathon, before narrowly missing out on a medal while representing Wales in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Her 2004 Athens Paralympics were, by her own admission, an amazing and emotional Games.

"I don't think I have cried so much after my races," she told BBC Sport.

There were tears of sadness when she struggled to a disappointing seventh in the 800m but they turned to joy with wins in the 100m and 400m to add to her impressive Paralympic tally.

Her last international event was the IPC World Championships in Assen, the Netherlands, last September where she won gold in the 200m, silver in the 800m and bronze in the 400m.

606 DEBATE: Your comments on Dame Tanni Grey Thompson's career

Off the track, Grey Thompson was third in the voting for BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2000 and won the BBC Wales award in 1992, 2000 and 2004.

She was also part of the London 2012 team that travelled to Singapore in July 2005 when the city was awarded the Olympics and Paralympics.

Now she is ready to embark on a new phase of her career.

"I am coaching a couple of young athletes who are working towards Beijing and London," she said.

"I also want to continue with my broadcasting and speaking work but would also welcome the opportunity to put something back into sport."

Minister for Sport Richard Caborn said: "For the best part of 20 years Tanni has dedicated herself to sport, becoming Britain's greatest ever Paralympian.

"Her phenomenal athletic ability is both intimidating to her rivals and inspiring to those who have watched her compete.

"In the minds of the British public, she has come to symbolise Paralympic sport at its very best.

"It's hard to imagine a Paralympic Games without her, so it's my great hope that she'll continue to be an ambassador for disability sport.

"I wish Tanni, who has become a good friend, every success in the future, and have no doubt she'll achieve it."

British Paralympic Association president Mike Brace said: "She has been a beacon of Paralympic sport, both in terms of her achievement and her professional approach.

"We've had comparatively few major ambassadors for disability sport, but she has fulfilled that role as well.

"She has also proved an inspiration to so many people, and her success has been clearly linked to the rise in Paralympic sport in Great Britain."

SEE ALSO
Grey Thompson's career in photos
28 Feb 07 |  Other Sport...
Weir & Grey Thompson strike gold
08 Sep 06 |  Disability Sport
Tanni sad to make Wales farewell
24 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Tanni to lead Wales in Melbourne
19 Dec 05 |  Sport Homepage
Meet Tanni Grey Thompson
04 Nov 05 |  Disability Sport
Tanni honour completes great year
31 Dec 04 |  Disability Sport
Tanni shines as Britain's best
28 Sep 04 |  Disability Sport
Tanni claims historic gold
27 Sep 04 |  Disability Sport
Tanni races to gold
23 Sep 04 |  Disability Sport
Tanni suffers early setback
20 Sep 04 |  Disability Sport
Tanni on top
10 Jun 03 |  Disability Sport
Bright year for Grey
29 Nov 00 |  Athletics


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