ED CLANCY has brought an end to one of the most successful careers of any Barnsley sportsperson after pulling out of a hunt for a fourth successive Olympic gold medal due to injury and then retiring.
Clancy, who was born in Barnsley and brought up in Ingbirchworth, pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday morning due to a back issue and sciatica. He then announced his retirement from international cycling.
The 36-year-old competed in the heats on Monday but withdrew hours before Tuesday’s semi-final.
Clancy said: “I’m absolutely gutted that my Olympic career has ended this way, but it would be unfair of me to try to carry on now I have aggravated my back injury. Ultimately, I want the rest of the lads to build on the hard work we have done over the past year and a half and give them the best possible chance of making it on to the podium. I will be supporting them all the way.”
Clancy won gold in the team pursuit in Beijing 2008 – when he also won bronze in the individual omnium – London in 2012 and Rio in 2016.
Ed said: “I’ve spent just over 20 years on the Great Britain Cycling Team and I see it as my family.
“I have achieved more during my time than I ever could have dreamed of, it’s something I will remember for the rest of my life.
“It’s been a pleasure, to the extent that if I could go back in time I would do it all over again.
“It’s a tough call, because I’m enjoying it more now than I ever have done, but the difficult choice is usually the right one and right now is the time to go. I want to thank everyone – family, friends, coaches, trade teams, sponsors, British Cycling and everyone else who has supported me – my career success has been a big team effort.
“In terms of what’s next, I still love riding bikes and I plan on rounding out the season competing in UCI Track Champions League, as well as focussing on building up the Clancy Briggs Cycling Academy. I also really enjoy my ambassadorial role with Pro-Noctis so I would like to do more with them, and I definitely would love to stay connected with British Cycling. I have plenty of options, but right now I will be putting all my energy in doing what I can to support the Great Britain Cycling Team out here in Tokyo.”
Stephen Park, Performance Director for British Cycling, said: “I admire Ed for taking the decision to retire from the sport which he still has a strong passion for. I know it was tough for him having to withdraw from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on account of his back issues. But his professionalism and honesty led him to make this decision.
“He can hold his head high knowing he was part of the quartet who posted the fourth fastest time in an event we know would be incredibly competitive.
“Through his domination in the team pursuit and by winning three consecutive Olympic gold medals, Ed has played a big part in driving the event forward, to the extent where we are witnessing the times we saw posted in Berlin and what we saw yesterday in qualifying.
“Away from the bike, Ed embodies the values of our team and has become a trusted mentor to his younger teammates. It’s been a pleasure to support Ed with his fantastic achievements and on behalf of everyone on the Great Britain Cycling Team. I wish him the very best of luck for the future, and I hope he keeps some involvement with us.”