Olympic Gold winning track sprinter and former BMX World Champion, Jamie Staff today announced his retirement from competitive cycling to concentrate on coaching and setting up his own bike company.
In the course of a glittering cycling career that started at the age of nine Staff won world championships in two branches of cycle sport: BMX in 1996 and track cycling. On the track he took the world championship wins in two different disciplines: the Team Sprint in 2002, 2005 and 2009; and the Keirin in 2004. The crowning moment of his career though came in Beijing in 2008 when he rode at the front for the first lap of the Team Sprint taking the Great Britain trio to the fastest opening lap ever recorded on their way to taking the Olympic Gold Medal.
Staff switched from BMX to track in 2001 to fulfill his ambition of winning an Olympic medal - BMX was not then an Olympic sport and track cycling particularly the sprint disciplines seemed a natural fit for his talents, indeed many of Britain's top track sprinters started out in BMX including Craig MacLean and most notably of all, Sir Chris Hoy, Staff though was by some distance the most successful British BMX rider to make the switch.
In his statement, reprinted below, Staff said that it was time to “pass the challenge on to the younger members of the Great Britain” squad, and in a typically realistic assessment of his own chances said “I would struggle to compete with the best riders in the World at the London Olympics and be in a position to win the Gold medal again.”
No word yet on whether his new bike company will specialise in BMX or track bikes, or both, but we'll find out. We certainly look forward to seeing them and wish Jamie all the best for the future. Thanks for some great memories.
Jamie Staff retirement statement
“I’ve decided to announce my retirement from competitive cycling.
I’ve been racing for 27 years and have accomplished all my goals in winning World and Olympic titles at two cycling disciplines.
I now feel it’s time to pass the challenge on to the younger members of the Great Britain squad in the lead up to the London Olympics in 2012.
I feel that looking at the big picture I would struggle to compete with the best riders in the World at the London Olympics and be in a position to win the Gold medal again.
I wish to thank everyone at British Cycling for believing in me and giving me the best support an athlete could ever wish for. I especially want to thank Dave Brailsford, Shane Sutton, my coach Iain Dyer, my sponsors Sky + HD and all the support staff for being very professional, and being there when I needed them most.
I can honestly say that I have become a better person for being part of the British Cycling team and have had the time of my life, and for that I will be forever grateful.
I intend to stay within the sport of cycling as a coach. I am in the process of setting up a number of projects to help guide young athletes in the right direction and am also in the process of establishing my own bicycle company.
Over the last few years I’ve got involved with coaching young riders and I now feel that this is the direction I would like to take. Watching someone improve under your guidance is to me a wonderful thing, so if I can give the young riders of today a chance to compete at the levels I have then I would feel very proud.
I wish the team all the success in the future and have no doubt that they will be victorious in London.
If people wish to follow me in my new ventures then they can do so via my website at: Jamiestaff.com
I will be taking a short break from the racing scene, but will be back very shortly with my new and exciting ventures.
I also want to take this time to thank everyone who has ever helped me out in my career.
I am very happy and very content and so this is not a sad day.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.