U.S. Paralympics

U.S. Paralympics

Dec 01 Galli Contemplating Retirement After London 2012

Dec. 01, 2010, 3:51 p.m. (ET)

Jessica Galli, one of America's most successful Paralympic athletes in recent years, has revealed for the first time that she's considering retiring after the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The 26 year old who will be looking for a hat-trick of 400m world titles at January's IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand burst onto the world scene 10 years ago when she won a silver medal in the 800m T53 at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

And, by the time she has competed in London in less than two years time, her fourth Paralympic Games, she feels the time may be right to weigh up a career outside of competitive athletics.

Speaking to www.paralympic.org, the International Paralympic Committee's website, Jessica Galli said: "I'm really looking forward to London and believe the city will rise to the occasion.

"I think the Games are just going to be awesome and they may be my last so I hope I can make them my best.

"It's getting to that point in my life where I'm considering my options so we'll probably have to wait and see.  I think I'll probably make a final decision after the Games," she added.

Having recently graduated from the University of Illinois, where she still trains, Galli is pretty sure where her future career lies away from the track.

Jessica Galli said: "I got my degree in Health Policy and Administration so I hope to probably work in that area possibly in a hospital setting or health agency.

"It's a sort of refocusing of life.  I still want to compete but I don't know if I want the pressure of always having to perform at my very best.

"I'll still stay active and in the community but having a life out of athletics would also be very good."

It was as a teenager that Galli won her first of six Paralympic Games medals - a silver in the 800m T53 at the Sydney Paralympics, a Games she remembers fondly to this day.

"It was overwhelming, but in the best possible way," said Galli who was just 16 at the time. "I think it is really awesome to get to that level and that stage at such a young age.

"I think that I was running on energy and the excitement of the moment whilst I was there.  It was a great experience."

Galli followed up her Sydney success in 2002 winning three medals at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lille, France - gold in the 400m and 800m and silver in the 100m.

Two fourth placed finishes at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games were a disappointment for Galli but they did act as motivation for future competitions.

In 2006 at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Assen, the Netherlands she successfully defended her 400m title and claimed bronze in the 800m.

It was at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games though where Galli really made a name for herself winning five medals - gold in the 400m, silver in the 100m, 200m and 800m, and a bronze in the 4 x 100m relay.

"I am hoping Beijing isn't the pinnacle of my career.  It certainly feels like it," said Galli who is paraplegic following a car accident when she was seven years old.

"It was amazing, especially having the first race be the 400m and to cross the line knowing that I'd won gold and then to look at the time and see the world record.  It was life altering."

If Galli does retire after London 2012 then January will be the last time she competes at an IPC Athletics World Championships, an event which is set to be the biggest yet.

More than 1,000 athletes from over 70 countries are expected in Christchurch, New Zealand and other big names set to compete include South African `Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius, Irish Sprinter and `Fastest Paralympian on the Planet' Jason Smyth and Swiss `Silver Bullet' Marcel Hug.

Tickets to see the event, which runs from 21-30 January 2011, are now on-sale and can be purchased from www.ticketdirect.co.nz and adult tickets start from just $10 per day.

For the latest news about the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, please visit www.ipcathleticsworldchamps.com

For more information about IPC Athletics, please visit http://ipc-athletics.paralympic.org

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Notes to the Editor:

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games, and serves as the International Federation for nine sports, for which it supervises and co-ordinates the World Championships and other competitions. The IPC is committed to enabling Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and to developing sport opportunities for all persons with a disability from the beginner to elite level. In addition, the IPC aims to promote the Paralympic values, which include courage, determination, inspiration and equality.

Founded on 22 September 1989, the IPC is an international non-profit organization formed and run by 167 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) from five regions and four disability specific international sports federations (IOSDs). The IPC Headquarters and its management team are located in Bonn, Germany.

For further information, please contact Craig Spence, IPC Media and Communications Senior Manager on e-mail: craig.spence@paralympic.org or call +49-228-2097-230. Alternatively, please visit www.paralympic.org or www.ParalympicSport.TV

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