Olympic champion Eilidh McIntyre retires from sailing

Olympic gold medal-winning sailor Eilidh McIntyre has announced she is retiring after determining she would not be prepared to challenge for a medal at Paris 2024.

McIntyre and team-mate Hannah Mills won gold for Team GB in the women’s 470 class at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with Mills announcing her own retirement after those Games.

Paris will see the class change to a mixed event, and 28-year-old McIntyre felt she would not be able to form a competitive partnership with new team-mate Martin Wrigley in time for the next Olympics.

She told the Team GB website: “I want to go to another Olympics and I want to challenge for another medal but I only want to go if I’m going to be battling it out for gold.

“I don’t want to go and be in that final race of the Olympics absolutely nowhere near to getting a medal. These things happen at the Olympics and you can’t control it.

“But I, in my heart, just don’t believe that in the time frame available to us that we are going to be in a situation to battle it out for a medal and for a gold. I just lost belief in that cause. I don’t want to go to the Games for the t-shirt.”

McIntyre’s medal collection also includes 470 world championship gold, won alongside Mills at Enoshima in 2019 two years after the pair took silver in the same event.

The pandemic-delayed Tokyo 2020 Games, held in summer 2021,  meant McIntyre and Mills had five years to get themselves in top form, while she and Wrigley would only have had three years as a result.

Mills and McIntyre won gold for Team GB in Tokyo
Mills and McIntyre won gold for Team GB in Tokyo (Kaoru Soehata/PA)

McIntyre added: “A lot of people have said ‘it’s only three years, you can make that’. That actually makes it harder.

“I had five years to build the team for Tokyo and get it into the right place. The great thing about the five years was that we came away with the gold medal but the knock-on was that there were only three this cycle.

“I tried to take an easy year but it wasn’t really an easy year and it’s actually been a bit of a mess.

“The knock-on of that has been quite hard. I know other people have done it really successfully but I’ve found it challenging to come off the back of that.”