Reigning British champion Charlotte Gilmartin revealed she was bowing out with her head held high after announcing her immediate retirement from short track speed skating – bringing an end to 13 years on the national team.
As a 12-year-old, Gilmartin was talent spotted at an ice-skating birthday party before the Redditch-born athlete joined up with local club Solihull Mohawks and progressed to the national team ranks.
Now, with two Olympic Winter Games, a 2016 European 3000m title and overall silver medal, and several World Cup podium finishes in her locker, the 28-year-old has decided to hang up her skates.
And despite stepping away from the competitive action on the ice, Gilmartin is delighted to have ended on a high after triumphing at the British Championships and insists she will remain close to the sport.
“Now is the right time for me to retire, I’ve finished on a high winning the British Championships and I am looking forward to this next chapter in my life,” she said.
“I definitely want to stay close to the sport I love, it’s given me so many opportunities, skills and enjoyment. I hope to see the sport continue to grow, and more young girls getting involved.
“Both Elise Christie and Kat Thomson are fantastic role models for the sport. I will enjoy watching closely from the barrier from now on.
“I’d like to thank all the GB Short Track team and staff for helping me to reach my potential.
“As well as my family and friends, particularly my husband Ian, who have all been the greatest supporters, you guys have been so patient and understanding with my journey as an athlete - I am looking forward to being able to make all the life events without having to FaceTime in!”
Gilmartin reached the Olympic semi-finals of the 1,500m in PyeongChang in February but crashed, meaning she was unable to fulfil her Olympic medal ambitions.
However, she recovered from the setback to win the British Championship in Nottingham.
And GB’s short track speed skating programme director Stewart Laing rained praise on Gilmartin’s professionalism and talent displayed throughout her career at the top.
“Charlotte has been an absolute pleasure to work with in my time as performance director. She is a fantastic athlete with high standards and a really great work ethic,” he said.
“She has been an ambassador for short track speed skating over the years, representing the country at multiple senior international events including two Olympic Games.
“Charlotte has seen success on the world stage during her time at GB Short Track and I am sure she will take all of the leanings from her time on the world class programme and those experiences into her future and we wish her all the best in her new journey ahead.”