GB WORLD CUP WINNING SKIER ROWAN CHESHIRE RETIRES
20th February 2020 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on May 15th, 2021
The freestyle skier, Winter Olympian and former junior World Championships medallist is retiring from competition for health reasons. She is just 24. Her former team mates pay tribute.
Rowan Cheshire made the announcement two years to the day since she competed in the ski halfpipe finals at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
“I have finally come to the decision to retire from my career as an athlete,” she said on Instagram.
“It has been a really difficult one for me to make, something I have struggled to come to terms with but due to the head injuries I have suffered over the last few years and the consequences they have had on both my mental and physical health, I feel that it is time to step away.”
Cheshire was one of Great Britain’s best freestyle skiers and the first Briton to win a gold medal in the Ski Halfpipe discipline.
The victory came in January 2014 in Calgary, Canada, when she was just 18.
But her sporting career has been blighted by injury ever since.
After her World Cup win, she was a strong contender for a medal going into the 2014 Olympics in Sochi a month later.
But while training in Sochi ahead of the competition she crashed badly.
She was knocked unconscious, suffered severe concussion and a broken nose and was forced to withdraw.
More concussions and other injuries followed, along with a crisis of confidence.
But she bounced back to qualify for the 2018 Games in South Korea.
“A dream come true,” she called it.
We interviewed her ahead of the Games.
She went on to finish 7th in Pyeongchang – a remarkable achievement in all the circumstances.
She says she’s now looking forward to focusing on other passions and goals.
“I am still incredibly passionate about the sport and I can’t wait to cheer on all my friends and fellow athletes at the next Olympics,” she says.
“I’d like to say a massive thank you to my family, friends, my amazing coaches Pat (Sharples) and Jamie (Matthew), all the support staff, the National Lottery, The British Olympic Association, GB Snowsport and UK Sport for their ongoing support and of course, every fan who watched me compete and help motivate and inspire me to succeed.”
Cheshire’s former GB team mates, some of whom have also recently stepped back from competition, and her coaches have been reacting to her decision:
Slopestyle skier Katie Summerhayes – Love you row. So many amazing memories together ?
Aerials skier Lloyd Wallace – Congrats on an amazing career Rowan! ?❤️
Slopestyle skier Tyler Harding – Good luck row.. you’ll kill it ❤️❤️ gonna miss ya!
Halfpipe skier Peter Speight – Congrats row. Some good times were had. See you soon ?❤️
Halfpipe skier Zoe Atkin – ❤️
GB Snowsport Head of Coaching Pat Sharples – ❤️❤️ ❤️❤️ ❤️❤️❤️
GB Park & Pipe Head Ski Coach Jamie Matthew – ??? one hell of a story champ! Looking forward to seeing what comes next!
In a statement on its website, the sport’s governing body said: “GB Snowsport would like to thank and congratulate Rowan Cheshire on a brilliant career which included Britain’s first ever freestyle ski World Cup win and two Winter Olympics.”
Cheshire, who comes from Stoke, is a qualified fitness trainer.
For the last six months has been studying Sport and Business Management at Manchester Metropolitan University so that she can continue to develop her passion for sport and the industry.
She says she is keen to help and motivate fellow athletes going through a similar transition period.
Since the Olympics she been open about the affects her concussion had on her mental health, her anxiety and her love for competitive extreme sport.
She has also spoken about how exercise has been instrumental in teaching her resilience and how to overcome physical and emotional setbacks.
“I feel so privileged to have spent the last 9 years pursuing the crazy sport that I love,” she said in a statement on the GB Snowsport website.
“But my body and mind just can’t keep up with the pace of it anymore and I have enjoyed exploring different avenues this year during my rehabilitation.
“The synergy between your body and mind, particularly when competing in professional sport, has to be seamless and for me, that has been the most interesting part of this decision – my body might be fit enough now, but is my mind up to the task? If it’s not then I could potentially put myself in a dangerous position out there on the mountain.”
See Rowan Cheshire’s announcement on Instagram: