One of American mountain bike racing’s most successful women, Olympic hopeful Willow Rockwell, announced her retirement from the sport Monday morning.
Rockwell returned to racing at the first World Cup of 2012 in Pietermaritzburg last month, after spending 2011 away from professional racing during her pregnancy. According to Trek World Racing, that race was a strong wake up call for Rockwell, who realized she needed “to be honest about being able to push herself so hard whilst also being the mother of a new-born baby.”
Trek World Racing owner, Martin Whiteley, announced the team’s support of her decision. “It’s true that we are sad not to see Willow racing in our team colors again,” he said. “But it is equally true that we are fully supportive of her decision, and we are grateful for every day we had Willow with us on the team. Eternally positive and a great spirit, she will be missed not only from our family, but from mountain bike racing in general.”
Rockwell posted insight into her journey and her decision to move on in a passionate and honest blog post titled “Freedom.” In the post she described herself as, “no longer the warrioress who would cut off a breast so the bow and arrow would fit her like a man. I am now an earth mother goddess.” She encouraged readers to, “Embrace your own apocalypse.”
The post concluded with the statement that, “At the end of this lifetime I will not wonder if a different color medal would have changed my life. I will ask myself, did I love? Did I heal? Did I follow my joy? The answer will be yes. Be a champion of the soul. Love, love , love.”