Claire Martin competes at the 2015 European Championships. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

France’s Claire Martin has announced her retirement from gymnastics, following a series of injuries that marred her 2016.

Martin won an emotional bronze medal on balance beam at the 2015 European Championships in Montpellier, in front of her home crowd who had come to support her. Martin’s bronze won France the first European medal in five years.

Martin explained to the Fédération Internationale Gym that since the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, in which Martin took part as a member of the French team, she has constantly been injured. ‘I tried multiple times to come back to my highest level,’ Martin said, ‘but in vain.’

2016 was a tough year, Martin added, because her injuries prevented her from being on top form in competition, and she missed the chance to compete at the Olympic Games, her biggest dream. 

‘The last season was very hard for me, physically as well as morally,’ she explained. 'To compete at the Games was my dream, and unfortunately I could not fulfil it, because I was injured during the selection process. I was very disappointed, and it will probably hurt for a long time. This decision [to retire] was a difficult one to take.’

Despite the disappointment, however, Martin argued that she leaves gymnastics only with positive memories and no regrets. ‘It was a pleasure to represent France.’

Claire Martin won bronze on beam at the 2015 European Championships.

Martin has three favourite memories of her years in the French team. 

First, her ‘first selection as a member of the French team in 2011 for the Under-13 competition in Germany.’ 

Second, the EYOF (European Youth Olympic Festival) in 2013. ‘I really loved the competition and the atmosphere within the team,’ she explained, ‘and I will especially remember my third place on beam!’ 

And finally, ‘the last [memory] is the 2015 European Championships in Montpellier, when I finished third on beam, in France, in front of MY public.’

Martin is now focusing on school, she will sit her final exams in June 2017. She is then planning on going to university and study dietetics. ‘Who knows,’ dreamt Martin, ‘maybe one day I will be a dietician for elite athletes?’

To young gymnasts, Martin recommended to dream big and to train with passion and motivation. ‘Gymnastics is a beautiful school of life, which allows us to grow.’

By Talitha Ilacqua



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