With a heavy heart and after representing Great Britain for 15 years in Short Track Speed Skating, Jon Eley has decided to hang up his skates and retire from the sport.
It is without doubt that Jon has made a huge contribution to GB Short Track. Over the years he has been five times British Champion, and two times World Champion medallist. As well as his individual achievements, Jon has always been a great team player and helped lead the 5000m men’s relay team to a World Record in 2011.
“It’s not been an easy one, but my decision to retire is the next step in my future. It has been a privilege working with all of the GB Short Track support staff over the past 15 years and I want to thank them all.
My body is no longer up for the physical demands and challenges of the sport but I am excited for the different challenges that lie ahead. I want to use my experience to help other athletes achieve their goals and ambitions in short track.”
His time in the sport has provided him with great moments both on and off the ice. He was a Team GB flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, an experience he says he will never forget and one which made his family incredibly proud, including wife and former team mate Joanna Eley and daughter Grace.
As well as making his family proud, Jon has been the pride of the GB Short Track team. Head Coach and former athlete Nick Gooch said;
“I am proud to have had the privilege to coach Jon Eley for the last 8 years. The time to hang up their skates comes for every speed skater but it makes me sad that it is time for Jon.
He has been such a large part of GB Short Track Speed Skating success over the past decade, and has been instrumental in leading the team to Word Championship medals and World Record breaking performances. He has been, and still is, an inspiration and positive role model to our young and aspiring future speed skaters.
I am confident that whatever challenge Jon takes on in the next chapter of his life he will make a success of it. I wish him the very best in the future. Thank you Jon.”
For now, Jon will continue to represent and support GB Short Track until the end of the season through mentoring roles. At the same time he is completing his Business and Sport Management Degree with the University of Hertfordshire and he continues his work as an athlete representative on the British Olympic Association’s Athlete’s commission.
Jon saves his biggest thank you for his team mates, some of whom he has skated alongside for over a decade;
“Over the years I have made great friends in the GB Short Track team and I would like to thank them all for their support and friendship. I wish them all the best for their future skating careers.”
In addition, Stuart Horsepool – former Performance Director, GB Short Track Speed Skating, said:
“Jon was a high quality professional athlete who has always been able to rise to any occasion. Jon competed in 3 Olympic Games where he finished in the top 8 on all 3 occasions. It was a very proud moment for me walking behind him at the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Olympic Games where Jon was selected flag bearer and team captain. Over the years I have known Jon, his attention to detail has been remarkable and I am sure that this will be great grounding for him to a successful future’
Ken Pendrey – Chief Executive Officer – National Ice Skating Association, said:
“The National Ice Skating Association have received the news that Short Track Speed Skater Jon Eley has announced his retirement from competitive Speed Skating. Jon’s achievements both on and off the ice over many years has placed him amongst GB’s finest Short Track Speed Skaters. His participation and results representing GB at European, World and Olympic Games is one that has gained him admiration and respect worldwide. In addition to his competitive skating, Jon was a great ambassador for Short Track, always willing to promote his sport at every opportunity. NISA are honoured to have been associated with Jon both as a member of the Association and an exceptional Short Track Speed Skater, we wish him well for the future.”
Mike Hay, Team GB Chef de Mission Sochi 2014, said:
"On behalf of the British Olympic Association we would like to wish Jon and his family all the best for his retirement. He has had an outstanding career, 3 time Winter Olympian, winning medals at World Juniors, Europeans, World Cups and World Championships.
He has been a great ambassador for Short Track and indeed the wider family of winter sport athletes. We were delighted when Jon was chosen by his team mates to be Team GB's flag bearer at the recent Games in Sochi, his character and leadership qualities contributed hugely to Team GB's most successful Olympic Winter Games"
Billy Simms – GB Short Track Athlete, said:
“Jon has been very successful and achieved a lot throughout his career, accomplishing things many individuals could only dream of. He has been someone that not only myself, but others look up to as both an athlete and an individual. Having Jon continuing to support the team will be great working towards PyeongChang Olympic Games in 2018 and beyond.
"On behalf of myself and the athletes we would all like to thank Jon for all of his commitment and influence in the sport over the years and his continued support moving forward, and we wish him the best of luck for the future.”
8th December 2015