• London Olympics 2012

Frustrated Lewis-Francis considers retirement

ESPN staff
June 28, 2012 « Meadows' European withdrawal casts Olympic doubt | Chartbeat test »
There was disappointment for Mark Lewis-Francis in Helsinki © Getty Images
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British sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis has admitted that he is preparing to retire at the end of the season after failing to qualify for the final of the men's 100 metres at the European Championships.

Lewis-Francis, who famously anchored the 4x100m relay team to Olympic gold in Athens in 2004, was hoping for a strong performance in Helsinki to make a last-ditch bid for inclusion as part of the relay team at London 2012, but laboured to a sixth-place finish in his semi-final as he ran a sub-standard time of 10.36 seconds.

With little remaining prospect of going to this summer's Olympics, Lewis-Francis admits that the strains of competing at the elite level are now leading him towards retirement.

"I'm going to sit down and think about [retiring]," Lewis-Francis said. "There's only so much criticism an athlete can take. We go through a lot on a daily basis.

"We get injuries here and there and all people see is us out there competing, and when we compete badly all of a sudden we're rubbish athletes.

"This season has been hard for me. I've had two quad injuries and I made it through the trials and made it onto this team. In all fairness I should be happy with that but you know I want more. But I think it's the end of the road, I'll have to sit down and see where I can go."

The 29-year-old intends to see out the rest of the 2012 season despite his expected Olympic omission, but will consider his future after that.

"I ain't got a chance in hell [of making the Olympic relay team]," he said. "I don't think I'm going to get there for the relay. Too many guys have run quicker than me this year.

"I've a couple more races left before the season ends. It's just all come around a little bit too quick. It's an unlucky season.

"It started off all right but I just can't get out of this 10.3-second zone and that's it basically."

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