Lydia Valentín, double world champion in weightlifting and Olympic champion in London 2012, announced her retirement this Thursday after an unparalleled career of successes that allow her to leave “happy, full, calm and very grateful.” Born in the Leonese town of Camponara 38 years ago, Lidia Valentín retires with a record that includes an Olympic gold in London 2012, a silver in Beijing 2008 and a bronze in Rio 2016, in addition to two world titles (2017 and 2018). , four European championships (2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018) and fifteen consecutive Spanish championships between 2004 and 2018.
“I want to heartily thank each and every one of the people who have accompanied me in my sporting career. Thank you for believing in me and for your support. Therefore, more than a farewell, I would like it to be a celebration of my sporting career,” said the athlete from Bercia, during her farewell at the Spanish Olympic Committee. “I leave happy, full, calm and very grateful. I have achieved much more than I ever imagined. I have put my sport at the top of the world. Starting today, a new life begins that will be full of success, since I carry the values of the sport that I have learned,” confessed Valentín, who stressed that weightlifting is her sport, it has “taken her to the highest level and I will always be united.” to her”. The Spanish weightlifter thanked the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, for “the quality of being a human being, for fighting for my medals and always giving me peace of mind and security.” “I love you,” she concluded.
Lydia Valentín had not competed since the Tokyo Olympics on August 2, 2021 due to a hip injury. She registered for the Havana Grand Prix, which was held in June, but she finally did not participate due to that injury, which has also prevented her from attending the last World Cup, a qualifier for the Paris Games. “I had the dream of going to Paris, but the Olympic Games demand a lot from you. There are 300 days left and we have to give our best, but with a hip injury I’ve had it’s complicated. I was clear that I was not going to compete if I am not the usual Lidia. I have achieved everything and to compete again and know that I already have what I am going to achieve, after a year or so of injury, makes me think about my health. This decision is considered, but I am leaving full and very happy. I don’t feel sad. It is brutal that people remember Lydia Valentín with weightlifting, a sport that is not a power in Spain,” she noted.
At her farewell, held at the headquarters of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Lydia Valentín was surrounded by family, friends, journalists and representatives of various institutions. “Elite sport is very complicated and there are many things to give up. Start a new life and new horizons. Competitions, medals and triumphs are very important, but I think the legacy is more important because elite sport is limited to certain years and the legacy is eternal. Yours is part of Spanish sport,” declared Víctor Francos, president of the Higher Sports Council.
Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, said that Lydia Valentín’s career must be “studyed to know where she starts from, where she arrives and the path she travels.” “On that path, more than ever, what Lydia has achieved has tremendous merit. Something that makes it special and unique. You are an example of clean sport. There have been very complicated cases and you have not competed on equal terms. Your life is a legend because all the successes you have will take centuries until someone repeats them. From Camponara and to heaven, you are unique and unrepeatable,” Blanco stressed.
For Constantino Iglesias, president of the Spanish Weightlifting Federation, moved in his speech, “there will not be another Lydia.” “You have been an example on and off the stage and there will be no other like it. A promising future awaits you, whether or not you are linked to weightlifting,” he confessed. The athlete from Bercia, during her professional career, was also chosen twice as the best world weightlifter of the year (2017 and 2018) in the voting launched by the International Weightlifting Federation.
You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes on Facebook and X, or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.