Early Thursday morning, Scotland’s most medalled athlete, triple Olympian and double Commonwealth Games medallist retired at age 35. The Scottish 400m runner, who had been aiming to qualify for Team Scotland for Glasgow 2014, will step down from the sport with immediate effect after a very accomplished career.
“Over the past few months my life has changed in an amazing way, I am now a mum,” said Lee. “When I fell pregnant with Ethan I made the decision to continue with training through and post pregnancy and see where that took me. 2014 is obviously a huge year for Scotland and this was not an easy decision to make as it means not competing in a home Commonwealth Games.”
The nine time major championship medallist has been a fantastic ambassador for Team Scotland, first competing in the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games where she took silver and later took bronze in the 2006 Melbourne Games. However, it was the allure of hearing the Hampden roar that motivated the 400m track star to put back on her running shoes:
"If the Commonwealth Games weren't in Glasgow then I wouldn't contemplate trying to get back. I was born and raised in Glasgow and I still live in the city so it'd be a shame to miss it,” she said. “I have now reached the decision that my career as a professional athlete has come to an end.”
Lee has been a positive influence on many over the years, especially to the up and coming athletes at her home club of the Shaftesbury Barnett Harriers. Training partner Diane Ramsay, aged 20 said: “Getting to train alongside Lee is great on many levels. She is in my squad and whether it is witnessing her attitude to training, running alongside her or going to her for advice, she is just great to be around. I would definitely say she is a mentor figure.”
Good friend and Team Scotland 400m Hurdler, Eilidh Child summaries the thoughts of Team Scotland in this tweet: "Sorry to hear the news but lots more exciting things to look forward too away from the track! We will miss you in Glasgow x."- @EilidhChild
You can follow Lee on Twitter: @LeeMcConnell400
Photo Credit: Getty Images