Olympic champion Callum Skinner steps away from British track team

After an 11-year career, Skinner will focus on his work away from the bike

Olympic track champion Callum Skinner has turned his attention to sport governance (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Olympic champion Callum Skinner is calling time on his elite track cycling career, after 11 years in the sport.

The 26-year-old last competed in the Commonwealth Games in Australia last year, and has since turned his focus to sport politics.

Skinner, who was part of the gold-winning team sprint squad at the Rio Olympics, has been on extended break since then due to health issues.

In a blog post announcing he would be stepping back from the track, Skinner said: “Cycling has been very good to me. I’ve made lifelong friends and realised my dream for which I am eternally privileged.

“I appreciate that 26 might seem to many quite young to be transitioning away from the track, but I have never considered myself just an athlete – I consider myself far more than that.”

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Glasgow-born Skinner was inspired by his compatriot Sir Chris Hoy to take up cycling in 2004, being accepted into the British Cycling performance pathway four years later.

During his career, Skinner took five World Cup medals, one Commonwealth Games medal, and a European title alongside his Olympic gold in 2016.

British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington said: “Callum has done both Scotland and Great Britain proud during his cycling career, winning medals on the global stage and playing his part in inspiring more people to take up cycling.

“For me though, what is just as remarkable is what Callum has been able to achieve off the bike. In my time at British Cycling, he has developed into an articulate and passionate spokesman – whether as an LGBT ally, an advocate for better athlete representation, working with UK Anti-Doping or just asking for improved conditions on the roads for people on bikes.”

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Since his last competition, Skinner has been active in anti-doping campaigning and has been elected to the British Olympic Associations Athletes’ Commission.

Last month, Skinner announced he would be fronting a new movement, Global Athlete, which aims to combat harassment and doping.

He added: “My focus and effort now lies in working in partnership with British Cycling to continue to make the athlete experience more human, whilst still maintaining that performance mindset.

“I have had an amazing time at British cycling and would like to thank my current and former coaches, performance support staff, and team-mates for an amazing and unforgettable 10 years.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.