Track Cyclist Sarah Hammer Announces Retirement After 15 World Medals, 4 Olympic Medals

By Gary R. Blockus | Sept. 18, 2017, 2:13 p.m. (ET)
Sarah Hammer poses for a portrait at the 2016 Team USA Media Summit at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

 

Sarah Hammer, who helped redefine success for a generation of U.S. cyclists, retired from the sport on Monday at the age of 34.

Hammer, one of America’s most decorated track cyclists, won four Olympic silver medals while appearing in three Games from 2008 through 2016, in addition to 15 world championship medals.

She will serve as the Director of Coaching at Performance United, the elite training facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that she co-founded.

“I’m really excited to continue my journey of promoting track cycling and women’s cycling in my new role,” Hammer said in a statement. “My primary focus will be to share and implement my knowledge with incoming athletes and coaches so they don’t have to learn it all on their own.”

Hammer’s silver medals in the omnium and team pursuit at the Olympic Games London 2012 broke a 12-year Olympic medal drought for U.S. track cyclists, dating back to Marty Nothstein’s gold medal in the sprint in 2000.

She also won a pair of silver medals in the same two events at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

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Most recently, the Temecula, California, native served as an athlete mentor for “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful.”

Hammer married cycling coach Andy Sparks in 2009. She entered a brief retirement in 2003, but was driven to return after watching the 2004 Olympic Games on television.

Hammer helped the U.S. women’s team pursuit win its first-ever world title in 2016.

Her three world championship medals at the 2011 UCI Track World Championships (gold in the individual pursuit, silver in the omnium and team pursuit) marked the first time in history a U.S. woman earned three world medals in the same year.

Hammer earned five world titles in the individual pursuit (2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013), a world championship in the omnium (2013) and a world championship in the team pursuit (2016).

She also claimed world championship silver medals in the individual pursuit (2008, 2014), in the omnium (2011) and team pursuit (2011), and two bronze medals in the omnium (2012, 2016).

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.