Winter Sports

'A really sad day': Major Jen Kehoe explains her retirement from elite sport

Major Jen Kehoe won a Paralympic gold medal in 2018 when she acted as a guide for Menna Fitzpatrick.

Major Jen Kehoe has told Forces News that her retirement from elite sport was not how she "wanted the story to end".

The Army skiing star won a Paralympic gold medal in 2018 when she acted as a guide for Menna Fitzpatrick.

But announcing her retirement has brought the partnership to an end.

"It's sort of the culmination of a long period of challenges that we faced," she explained.

"We worked really, really hard to overcome them and we got to a point where we just couldn't overcome the hurdles and just couldn't continue.

"It's a really sad day. It's not what we wanted and not how we wanted the story to end.

"It is the right thing to do for both of us."

Watch: Menna Fitzpatrick pays tribute to the retiring Major Jen Kehoe.

She continued: "One of the biggest challenges, as everybody will be able to understand, was COVID-19 - not being able to get out and train, not being able to get out and compete together.

"Not getting the results needed to prove we should be selected for the next [Winter Paralympic] Games.

"That has been one of our biggest challenges."

But despite the sad ending, Major Kehoe can look back on a career that makes her one of the most successful military winter sports competitors in history.

She said: "What an amazing story it was - it still is! It brings back such great memories just thinking about it and kind of the fairytale.

"Going through the disappointment of the first day, falling and just having to pick ourselves up and work as a team to get through that.

"Getting across the finish line and we know we've won that first bronze medal was just the most incredible memory.

"To culminate with gold on the final day is a dream come true. Nobody can take any of that away from either of us.

"One of the things that we're both really keen to share and continue is this legacy that we have left - showing young athletes, young women that they can go and achieve their dreams.

"Even in the face of adversity, because we had a lot of challenges over the course of our career.

"It is possible to go and be successful.

"Menna will continue doing that on the ski slopes in whatever capacity and whatever direction she takes it.

"I intend to do that in whatever direction the next phase takes me."