High jumper Holm announces retirement

High jumper Holm announces retirement
Swedish high jumper and former Olympic champion Stefan Holm announced his retirement from the sport on Saturday. Holm ended his 20-year 'love affair' with a second place at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart.

Having won a gold medal in Athens four years ago, the 32-year-old Swede leapt here for the last time in competition as new Olympic champion Andrey Silnov won with a clearance height of 2.35m.

“When I woke up this morning I felt old and stiff, but when I warmed up and started jumping I felt normal again,” said Holm after having leapt 2.33m in Stuttgart.

“I really wanted to win today, it was the second best competition this year. Today was the last competition of my career, but right now it just feels like the end of the season.

“Maybe I will finally realise in October or November that it is over and that will be an empty feeling. That is when the training normally starts again.

“Now I will have a normal life, but I don’t really know what a normal life is, because I started my high jumping career when I was 12 years old. High jumping is my love, my passion.”

Having played in goal for his local football team before switching to athletics, Holm broke onto the world stage in 2000 when he finished fourth at the Sydney Olympics with a leap of 2.32m.

At 1.81m, Holm was relatively short for a high jumper, but has been consistently successful since Sydney.

He was the undefeated world indoor champion from Lisbon in 2001 right through to winning his fourth straight world crown inside in Valencia earlier this year. The highlight of his career will undoubtedly be remembered as that dramatic gold medal in Athens in 2004.

At this year’s Beijing Olympics Holm missed out on a medal, coming fourth with a jump of 2.32m.