By Martyn Herman
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Australian former world champion track cyclist Melissa Hoskins has called time on her career at the age of 25, saying “there is only so much pain” she can handle.
Hoskins had dreamed of going out with a medal in Rio but, from the moment she and her team pursuit squad crashed heavily in training on Monday, the odds on that happening grew.
She came off worse, needed hospital treatment and was still on crutches the day before the team pursuit competition began on Thursday, although she still managed to compete.
Australia eventually finished fifth, one place lower than at London in 2012.
“There is only so much pain you can handle,” said Hoskins, who suffered a bout of pneumonia this year. “I’m in a fair amount of pain.”
Hoskins, a member of the team pursuit squad that won the world title in 2015, has also enjoyed a fine road career, but said she is looking forward to stepping off the competition bike.
“My grand retirement plan was to retire on a gold, but four, five days ago I was looking at retiring not even on my own terms,” she said of the crash.
“I want to finish on my own terms before I start to hate the sport so I’m stepping away completely.
“It’s been 10 years since I started and sometimes I wake up and wish I could take a stroll around the river, and not have four hours of efforts.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Brian Homewood)