Gymnastics-Three-times Olympic champion Whitlock to retire after Paris Games

FILE PHOTO: Gymnastics - 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships - Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium - September 30, 2023 Britain's Max Whitlock in action on the pommel horse during the men's qualification REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

(Reuters) - Britain's three-times Olympic champion Max Whitlock will retire after this year's Paris Games, the 31-year-old said on Wednesday.

Whitlock was Olympic champion twice in pommel horse from Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo and also won floor gold in Rio.

The Englishman, who is aiming to defend his pommel title in Paris this August in what would be his fourth Games, opened up about mental health issues following the Tokyo Olympics and took an 18-month break from the sport.

"This decision now feels right," Whitlock told the BBC.

"Going for my final Olympic Games, it feels very, very strange talking about it and it's almost hard to articulate what it's like. It's a really nice mindset to be in, to think I'll just give it all I've got."

Whitlock has also won three bronze medals at the Olympics - all-around in Rio, and team and pommel from London 2012.

"Ever since Rio where I was at my peak age, I think I've had questions thrown at me about when am I retiring," Whitlock said.

"I've wanted to prove people wrong a lot of the way through my journey, and I've always had the mindset of trying to do this for as long as I possibly can."

Whitlock has won three titles at the World Championships, as well as four gold medals at both the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships.

Team GB are due to announce the gymnastics team for Paris in June. The artistic gymnastics competition will take place between July 27-Aug. 5.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali Paul)

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