Olympic bronze medallist, double European champion and winner of a silver medal at the World Championships – Kristian Thomas’ retirement means one of British Gymnastics’ trailblazers will never again grace the competition arena.
A winner of 14 major international medals during his career, Thomas led Team GB’s gymnastics squad during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games having won team bronze four years earlier.
In 2015 he won a world silver medal in the team event, two years after picking up an individual global bronze on the vault.
Add to that seven European Championship medals and four in the Commonwealth Games, and Thomas leaves with sport with an impressive CV.
“I think now is the right time, having achieved everything I’ve ever dreamt of in the sport, being lucky enough to compete at the highest level, win medals for my country and travel the world with my friends,” said the 28-year-old.
“Now is the time to try something new and hang up the guards. I started gymnastics 23 years ago and I’ve always found it exciting, challenging and unique which is what has kept me in the sport so long.
“In terms of my best moments I could make a list that goes on and on but the three occasions that really stand out for me would have to be the London Olympics, 2015 Glasgow World Championships and winning a bronze on vault at the 2013 World Championships.
“All for very different reasons, but the magnitude of a home Olympics and the feelings and emotions of what it’s like to win an Olympic medal is something that I will never forget.
“It was similar with my 2015 World Championships experience. To win medals in front of a home crowd, and to do it as team captain made the moment even more special.
“The World Championships vault medal was one of my most rewarding because of the journey I’d had that year.
“A broken tibia, broken heel bone, tough team selection, yet I came through it and this helped me to further achieve international medals.”
Thomas was gymnastics team captain during Rio 2016 as his British colleagues enjoyed the most successful Olympic Games ever.
And those memories will live long with him as he continues his life in gymnastics – just not in competition.
“To end my competitive career in Rio and be selected by my peers as team captain is something I’m extremely proud of,” he added.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to compete alongside so many incredible and inspirational gymnasts who know how to get the best out of each other; that made my role as team captain the easiest of jobs.
“I want to thank all the incredible people who have supported me every step of the way. My coaches, family, friends, British Gymnastics support staff and the amazing gymnastics fans.
“I will definitely be staying in the sport and look forward to cheering on the British team for many years to come.”
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