Clarity is often in short supply for athletes at times. They seem to want to live on the field forever and it often takes quite an effort to get some of them to call time when it is patently obvious that their skills are no longer equal to the task.
Such was not the case with Paralympic sprinter Liam Malone, the Nelson native who won two gold and one silver medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic games.
He cited burnout and a lack of the will to continue on with the huge commitment needed to stay on top of the sport of running.
“Over the last month I have been reflecting on my position and I have made the difficult decision to retire my running career effective immediately,” Malone said.”External events both in and out of my control have taken a toll on my training in the last month and I don’t feel I have the emotional investment or necessary focus and energy to succeed at the highest level in Tokyo.Becoming an elite athlete was an incredible journey but life is short, I want to find something that I can commit to and be happy in for a long time. It would be unjust to commit half-heartedly to those who support me, my coach, the supporting organisations, the New Zealand public, sponsors, my friends and family.”
Malone plans to take a position with the corporation Soul Machines, a technology company that is working on ways to make the human-computer interface smoother.
Malone was also disturbed by some rule changes to the prosthetic devices he uses to compete, changes he felt he could not adapt to his style. In citing this factor and others, he said, “One is that there’s been some rule changes within the Paralympics regarding the blade we compete on. Those changes are going to be quite significant and basically reduced my confidence that I will be competing on the same playing-field.”