Kirkby's Paralympic star Ollie Hynd 'steps away' from swimming
Paralympic swimming star Ollie Hynd MBE has announced he is taking a step back from the sport after what he describes as a ‘challenging few years’.
Hynd, 26, from Kirkby, won a gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games before going to claim two further gold medals at the Rio games four years later, each time competing in the class eight category.
However, a change in classification criteria in 2018 by the International Paralympic Committee saw him moved into the S9 category, a decision Hynd unsuccessfully appealed against.
In a statement released on Thursday, Hynd says that ruling, plus the more recent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to his decision to take a break.
He said: “Unfortunately I have had to make a really difficult decision following on from a challenging few years, regarding my classification and of course the impact that Covid has had on us all, as elite athletes.
“For the moment, I will be stepping away from the programme and competitive swimming to focus on other initiatives and projects to ensure that my health and wellbeing are the main priority moving forward.
“I would wholeheartedly like to thank my sponsors, teammates, coaching team and more importantly supporters, who have been instrumental in every achievement I have made in and out of the pool.
“Although Tokyo 2021 isn’t in my short-term swimming plans, you never know what may be around the corner.
“Thank you again to all for being alongside me in what has been an awesome time!”
Hynd, who has the degenerative muscular condition neuromuscular myopathy, was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s Honours in 2013 for his services to swimming.