British Olympic Gold medalist Sarah Ayton will not compete in the London 2012 Games

Sarah Ayton OBE (30) is one of Britain’s best known and most successful Olympic sailors, having won gold in the Yngling class in both Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008). Since the Yngling class was replaced by Match Racing, Sarah teamed up with Saskia Clark and together they began their 2012 campaign in the two-person 470 class.

By competing at the London Games, Sarah hoped to become the first British female to win gold at three consecutive Games. However, after much deliberation, Sarah has announced she is to retire from the sport with immediate effect:

“It’s been one of the hardest decisions of my life but last week I decided to call time on my sailing career after an amazing 12 years. At the start of this campaign I knew what needed to be done and I knew it would be hard but achievable with a new class of boat, team and coach, however what I had no idea about was motherhood and how hard that would be and how much it would affect me mentally and physically which at the end of the day meant I couldn’t give enough time and energy to my sailing.

Despite all the incredible support, help and understanding I have received over the past year, as Saskia and I put together our 2012 campaign, it got to the point where, if we were going to improve further, I needed to ramp everything up another gear and it wasn’t a gear I had. I felt I was hindering Saskia, who is an exceptional talent, and I desperately didn’t want to do that. Since coming back to sailing I’ve always been working to my maximum to do two things; be a mother and focus on my sailing.”

To read all of Sarah’s blog, click here.