Athletics: Spaniard Ruth Beitia, oldest winner of Olympic jumping gold , retires

Spanish athlete Ruth Beitia told a press conference in Santander, northern Spain that she had pushed her "body to the limit on many occasions" throughout her 21-year career.
Spanish athlete Ruth Beitia told a press conference in Santander, northern Spain that she had pushed her "body to the limit on many occasions" throughout her 21-year career. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID (AFP) - Spanish athlete Ruth Beitia, who wrote her name into the history books by becoming the oldest-ever winner of an Olympic jumping event, announced she was retiring on Wednesday.

Beitia, 38, told a press conference in Santander, northern Spain that she had pushed her "body to the limit on many occasions" throughout her 21-year career.

"The situation I face today is to announce the end of my sporting life," she said.

Beitia made her international debut for Spain in 1996 and went on to win high jump gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics at the record-breaking age of 37.

The shock victory came four years after she retired from the sport following a bitterly disappointing fourth place finish at the London 2012 Olympics.

However she returned to competition several months later to earn a bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. She also won gold at European Championships in 2012, 2014 and 2016.