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Ladies Of Energy 2023: Two-Time Olympic Medallist Sarah Lee Displays On The Yr That Was

Ladies Of Energy 2023: Two-Time Olympic Medallist Sarah Lee Displays On The Yr That Was

2023 was a significant year for Sarah Lee as she called time on her career as a full-time athlete. Here, she shares her biggest achievements from the past 12 months and tells us what she’s looking forward to in 2024.

As a professional track cyclist and two-time Olympic medal holder, Sarah Lee has known little other than the gruelling schedule of an elite athlete. So when she took the momentous decision to retire from the sport in April this year, instead of taking a well-earned break, Lee met the challenge by channelling her energy and unrivalled work ethic into a world of new opportunities. We find out what’s next for this unstoppable force.

How would you describe your 2023?

2023 was a huge milestone for me. I quit my career as an elite athlete in April and began exploring new things. I tried different routes to work, I ventured out of my comfort zone and I met different people from around the world. The whole experience has felt surreal, but it’s also been amazing. There’s an infinite amount of diverse possibilities that can happen in life and I really look forward to embracing them.

Lee quit her career as an elite athlete in April

What were your biggest achievements over the past 12 months? 

I celebrated two big achievements this year. Firstly, I graduated with first-class honours for my second bachelor’s degree in creative and professional writing. Since I published my debut book last year – my memoir, Every Scar on the Body – I’ve tried to write some other genres, such as poems, surreal fiction and lyrics. It’s been hugely satisfying to combine my life experiences into new forms.

Secondly, after graduation, an opportunity came up to be a host and commentator for the Asian Games. It was a great opportunity for me to step out of my comfort zone while staying in sports, this time in a different role. Working in TV is totally opposite to competing in the games, so I tried to adjust my mentality of managing people while working. I was so lucky to have many kind colleagues who guided me and gave me advice, helping me to become a more professional commentator day by day. I’m grateful that the project ended up being a great success and it was lovely to receive so much positive feedback.

What was your secret of success in the past year?

My secret is very simple: whatever I do, I work at it with all my heart. During the Asian Games, I only slept for eight hours in total during the week. I felt so exhausted physically; however, my tough mentality and my strong will supported me in working efficiently and enthusiastically.

Lee in her new role as a sports commentator

Were there any challenges you had to overcome? 

This year I’ve reached a crossroads in my life, and after a long period of reflection, I made a huge decision, which has also been the biggest challenge of my life. Going forward, I hope to have the strength to choose my own future path and to not be influenced by others’ expectations, but by my passions instead. Following my own passion was how I chose to become a professional cyclist in the first place. At present, there are still many challenges I need to face, but I know that they’ll change my life for the better if I overcome them with a positive mindset.

What lessons did you learn this year?

I learned to enjoy having a social life for the first time, as well as the opportunity to fully rest afterwards. When I was an athlete I rarely got together with my friends, so I hope to see them more now that I’m retired. But I’m still making sure to carve out time for myself – it’s also about learning to balance work, socialising and rest.

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What advice would you give last year’s self? 

I’d like to say the same sentence I said to myself when racing: be patient! The best is yet to come, if I’m willing to wait for it.

What are you looking forward to in 2023?

I hope to dedicate more time to learning new and different skills I never had the chance to as an athlete.

Source: Prestige Online

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