Becky James: Cyclist 'excited' about future after announcing retirement

James: 'No culture of fear'

Becky James said she wrestled with "post-Olympic blues" before finally deciding to quit cycling.

Double world champion and Olympic silver medallist James, 25, announced her retirement on Wednesday, 17 August and plans to start a baking business.

"It came about two weeks ago and I thought 'this is what I want to do' and it just clicked," she said.

"I came to the decision it was the right thing for me to do and I'm feeling very excited."

The Welsh athlete won the world sprint and keirin titles in 2013 and took silver at the same events at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Her Olympic success came after a two-year battle with knee injuries and illness and after she "gave up" her life for a year to concentrate on qualification.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme, James explained she had spent a year-long break after Rio contemplating her future career.

"It's been up and down," she said.

"I was on such a high after the Olympics, and then you have a massive dip and it's really hard to get out of that rut.

"People say you have the post-Olympic blues and I definitely had that, but then I came out of that dip and I was half training and trying to figure out what to do.

"I was so happy with my decision and was scared to tell people what I wanted to do. I had to do what I wanted in my heart."

James' decision to turn her cake-making hobby into her profession was announced less than a month after she said she was looking forward to returning to action after her break.

But the Abergavenny competitor says she can look back on her career without regrets.

"I kind of gave up my life the year before Rio because I wanted to give it everything," said James.

"So I gave up my life, I shipped off my dog Lola to George (boyfriend, rugby player George North) and committed everything just to get to Rio.

"I'm so happy with everything I've achieved in my career. I didn't feel like I was desperate to carry on to the next Olympics, I'm so chuffed with what I've done.

"I just felt for me this is the right time to move and start my next career.

"If it (cycling) wasn't what I wanted to do I knew in my heart I wouldn't achieve what I'd want to. I couldn't do anything half-hearted - if I didn't really want to do it I knew I wouldn't achieve my goals and be the best I could be."

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