Jan 29, 2013, 12:39 PM EST
Olympic silver medalist, four-time world champ and nine-time national champ Alicia Sacramone said goodbye to competitive gymnastics Tuesday, announcing her retirement after a nearly a decade as one of the sport’s most accomplished athletes.
“Alicia was special, and determined to accomplish the goals she set for herself,” said U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi of the ’08 captain.
“Alicia had a great career, full of success that was well earned. She also showed her strength of character by the dignified way she handled the moments that fell short of her goals.”
Many, including Sacramone herself at times, blamed the star gymnast for the U.S. not winning gold in Beijing after tumbles on the beam and floor exercise. But there’s no doubt the team’s success was a direct result of the strength and commitment Alicia provided, a sentiment voiced by U.S. Gymnastics President Steve Penny in a statement Tuesday:
“Alicia has had a major impact on women’s gymnastics. Her personality, sense of humor and leadership skills were important ingredients in the success of our team. Alicia is a strong individual who knows what she wants and is not afraid to put herself out there to achieve it.”
Alicia had hoped to comeback and compete in London after tearing her Achilles in 2011, but failed to make the team despite finishing second on both the vault and balance beam at the 2012 Trials.
After Trials, the star unofficially retired via Twitter, saying, “I leave this sport with no regrets.”
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