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The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport
The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport

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Session 7: The final athletic chapter – retirement from sport


Usain Bolt striking the lightning pose after a race.
Figure 1 Usain Bolt

Retirement from sport is the one inevitable transition that all athletes face, such as Usain Bolt seen above, and is often a daunting experience at the end of their athletic career. Knowing when to retire can be a difficult decision and for some this is a decision over which they have no control. Throughout this session you will hear from several former athletes and start to appreciate why athletes retire and the psychological impact this may have.

By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • appreciate why retirement from competitive sport can be difficult
  • recognise how retirement can be prompted by reasons such as injury, deselection, age and free choice
  • understand why retirement difficulties are more likely to be faced by those who are forced to retire and those with a stronger athletic identity.