Olympic bronze medallist Nile Wilson has announced his retirement from gymnastics after admitting defeat in his battle against a series of career-threatening injuries.
In an emotional post on his Instagram account, the 24-year-old said he was “in tears” but conceded: “Unfortunately my body just couldn’t keep up.”
Wilson became Great Britain’s first Olympic medallist on the high bar in Rio in 2016, and recovered from ankle surgery to claim three gold medals at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
But Wilson was also forced to undergo neck surgery in 2019, leaving his quest to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics hanging in the balance.
Wilson wrote: “Today I hang up my hand guards and retire from the professional sport of gymnastics.
“Gymnastics, you are the best sport in the world! You are my first love, my addiction, you set me free, you gave me purpose and you gave me experiences I could not even have dreamed of!
“Unfortunately my body could not keep up.. and that’s OK. It is my time to move on and I can’t wait for the next chapter.”
In August, Wilson launched a scathing attack on British Gymnastics over the governing body’s treatment of a complaint he lodged with them, describing a “culture of abuse” and claiming athletes were “treated like pieces of meat”.
But the governing body paid tribute, saying: “As well as his performances on the competition floor, through his personality and online presence, Nile has brought a new audience to the sport of gymnastics.
“Nile’s passion and personality have shone throughout his career and his legacy is not only of medals but also of his influence in transforming the perception of the sport; inspiring, entertaining and motivating thousands across the world.
“We would like to take this opportunity to wish Nile all the very best for the future.”