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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019

Ireland's first female Olympic gymnast announces her retirement at 19

Ellis O’Reilly hopes her achievements will inspire a new generation.

O'Reilly competing at Rio 2016.
O'Reilly competing at Rio 2016.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

ELLIS O’REILLY, WHO last year made history by becoming the first Irish female gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Games, has today announced her retirement at the age of 19.

The three-time national champion competed in the all-round event at the 2016 Rio Games and this afternoon called time on a distinguished career which spanned 13 years.

O’Reilly made her international debut at the European Championships three years ago and went onto represent Ireland at two World Championships and the inaugural Baku Games in 2015.

“My advice to younger gymnasts is to continue working hard in the gym even when it gets hard and you will feel like giving up,” she said.

“You will have highs and lows throughout your career, but without the lows it would not push you to be a better gymnast. I never thought I would even make it to a world championship let alone an Olympic Games, but with the help and support around me it became a reality.

“I hope my achievements have inspired younger gymnasts that anything is possible, and therefore to always believe in themselves.”

O’Reilly now intends to complete her university degree with the aspiration of becoming a PE teacher.

Commenting on her retirement, Gymnastics Ireland’s CEO Ciaran Gallagher said:  ”Ellis’ historic qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games put women’s gymnastics on the map in the eyes of the Irish public and opened the door for future generations of talented young Irish girls who wish to follow in her footsteps going into Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

“We wish her well in the exciting new challenges she undertakes and have no doubt she will still stay connected to our exciting sport despite stepping back from her competitive career.”

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