Iconic Irish Paralympian Jason Smyth has today announced his retirement from Para Athletics. The Derry native has decided to hang up his spikes after a golden career that spanned three decades and included four Paralympic Games including Beijing (2008), London (2012), Rio de Janeiro (2016) and Tokyo (2021). The 35 year old Paralympic and World Champion retires having never lost a competitive Para Athletics event throughout his entire career.
Jason Smyth is the acclaimed “Fastest Paralympian on the Planet”, with a glittering career which saw him win gold medals in every event in which he competed including six gold medals at the Paralympic Games in the 100m and 200m events. He also claimed 8 Gold medals at World Championships 6 gold medals at European Championships and a gold at the World Indoor Championships over 60 metres.
Jason also retires as the current European, World and Paralympic Champion in the event that he helped to redefine; the T13 100m and he is the current World Record holder in both events. His final performance at the Paralympic Games may be remembered amongst his very greatest as he showed all his class to hold off the challenge of Algeria’s Skander Djamil Athmani to edge him out by one hundredth of a second.
The Paralympic legend, who has less than 10% vision due to an eye condition known as Stargardt’s Disease, also competed in non-Paralympic athletics. He won two Athletics Ireland National Championships in the 100m and represented Ireland at two European Athletics Championships where he reached the semi finals as well as the World Athletics Championships, making his the first ever Paralympian to compete in those events . Jason also represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. He has run 100m in 10.22 seconds making him the 3rd fastest 100m sprinter in Irish history and the fastest in Northern Irish history.
Jason will continue to be a hugely positive influence on Irish Paralympic Sport away from the track as he will be joining the staff at Paralympics Ireland where he will take up the role of Strategy Manager with the organisation, a position he will take up with immediate effect.
Speaking about his retirement, world record holder, Jason Smyth said “I think now is the right time for me to step away from competitive Paralympic Sport. I lived and fulfilled the dream and now I hope to support the next generation of para-athletes on their journey. I have loved my time with Team Ireland and I have had many incredible memories that I will really treasure from my time as an athlete. There are so many people that have helped me along the way from my coaches, support staff, to my teammates, partners and my competitors. I would especially like to pay tribute to my incredible and very patient family, especially my wife, Elise and my daughters Evie and Lottie.”
“I now look forward to joining my new teammates at Paralympics Ireland. I feel that I have a lot to offer thanks to my experiences as an athlete and as someone that has been in the Paralympic and Disability sporting environment since my youth. I can’t wait to start this new stage of my career and giving back to the sport that has meant so much to me.”
Stephen McNamara, CEO of Paralympics Ireland said “I would like to join the world of Paralympic Sport in congratulating Jason on an incredible and historic career. He has transcended Paralympic Sport and become a true sporting icon thanks to his outstanding successes as an athlete. He truly is one of the greatest ever Irish sportspeople of all time and I believe that will be his legacy.”
“Whilst one part of Jason’s career is coming to an end another is just beginning. I am delighted to welcome Jason to the staff of Paralympics Ireland and to work with him to gain the benefit of his experience and his expertise as our new Strategy Manager. This marks a new era for Paralympics Ireland as we look to advocate more actively on behalf of Irish disability sports and the Irish disability community at large. We will work to positively disrupt the current discourse around disability sport and to shine a spotlight on the incredible ability of sportspersons with a disability and inspire a move to a new outlook on disability. I am delighted that we will be able to work alongside Jason who will bring all of his experience to bear as Paralympics Ireland works on behalf of Paralympians, Sportspeople with a disability and the disability community.”
Jason Smyth’s Career Highlights
Beijing 2008 T13 100m Gold Medal T13 200m Gold Medal
London 2012 T13 100m Gold Medal T13 200m Gold Medal
Rio 2016 T13 100m Gold Medal
Tokyo 2020 T13 100m Gold Medal
Assen 2006 T13 100m Gold Medal T13 200m Gold Medal
Lyon 2013 T13 100m Gold Medal T13 200m Gold Medal
Doha 2015 T13 100m Gold Medal
London 2017 T13 100m Gold Medal T13 200m Gold Medal
Dubai 2019 T13 100m Gold Medal
Espoo 2005 T13 100m Gold Medal T13 200m Gold Medal
Swansea 2014 T12 100m Gold Medal T12 200m Gold Medal
Berlin 2018 T13 100m Gold Medal T13 200m Gold Medal
World Indoor Championships
Bollnas 2006 T13 60m Gold Medal