Britain's Ellie Downie retires from gymnastics to 'prioritise mental health'

Ellie Downie said retiring from gymnastics was a difficult decision. Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

British gymnast Ellie Downie has retired from the sport at the age of 23 to prioritise her "mental health and happiness."

Downie won Britain's first all-around gold medal at a major championship in 2017. She won 12 medals in her senior career.

In a statement released on Twitter, Downie said she made the decision "with a heavy heart and an array of emotions."

The statement read: "After a really tough last few years I've made the decision to prioritise my mental health and happiness," she said.

"Gymnastics has been my life for as long as I can remember and I am proud of everything I was fortunate enough to achieve.

"Competing and winning medals for Great Britain has meant everything and more to me and I'll miss it enormously."

In 2020, Ellie and her sister Becky spoke out about abuse in gymnastics being "ingrained" and "completely normalised."