Highly decorated Olympian and three-time team pursuit world champion, Alex Porter, has announced his retirement from professional cycling.
Porter, who won Commonwealth Games Gold and Olympic Bronze, said the decision was the hardest of his life and came after extensive reflection and discussion with his family and close friends.
“After much deliberation, and in what has been the toughest decision of my life, I have decided to retire from professional cycling,’’ Porter said today.
“After the Tokyo Olympics, it is clear I need to put my health first and this means stepping away from the sport. I have been cycling since I was a teenager, it has shaped me into the person I am today, and I am grateful for all the joy it has brought to my life.
“I’ve made lifelong friendships and made a tremendous number of amazing memories.”
Porter retires as a triple world champion and member of the Men’s 4000m Team Pursuit squad which broke the 3 minute 50 second barrier on the way to a world record and gold medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
He was also a key member of the team which won Bronze in the Team Pursuit at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The medal was earned in the most difficult of circumstances with Porter’s base bar breaking during qualification, causing him to crash early in the event.
The ability of the team to re-focus and win Bronze was an inspiration to the entire Australian Olympic team and etched the names of Alex Porter, Kelland O’Brien, Lucas Plapp, Sam Welsford and Leigh Howard into cycling lore.
“I have an endless amount of people to thank, but I’ll start by acknowledging South Australian Sports Institute and AusCycling for giving me the chance to race my bike across the country, and then all over the world,” Porter said.
“To the silent contributors, my family and friends behind the scenes, it wouldn’t have been possible without you all, you have been there for the ups and downs of the sport.
“As have the Aussie Team Pursuit boys, Kell, Sam, Leigh and Luke. We have been through a great deal, but to have my last moment in the sport standing arm in arm on the podium with you guys regardless of what step is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.
“Finally, I’d like to thank my coach Tim Decker; your guidance took me from a kid who couldn’t clip into a bike to an Olympic medallist, and for that I will be forever grateful. Your impact on my growth as a person is impossible to quantify, and I appreciate all of your leadership, guidance and support.”
AusCycling CEO Marne Fechner said Porter had proven himself a champion both on and off the track and was delighted that he would continue to contribute to the sport as an official AusCycling Ambassador.
“We have the greatest admiration for Alex and his resilience, dedication and record of achievement,” Fechner said.
“While we’re disappointed that we won’t see him riding in the national colours, his cycling journey is far from finished and we know that as an AusCycling Ambassador, he will be playing a key role in inspiring the next generation of riders and cyclists.”
Porter plans to enjoy a break with family and friends before moving into the next phase of his career in 2023. He will be making no further comments.