24 Apr 2020

Dawkins completes his final lap

1:18 pm on 24 April 2020

New Zealand's most successful track cyclist Eddie Dawkins has announced his retirement from the sport.

Eddie Dawkins

Eddie Dawkins Photo: Photosport

The 30-year-old from Invercargill was part of the New Zealand men's team sprint combination with Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster, which won three world championship titles, an Olympic silver medal and two Commonwealth Games gold medals.

He is the most successful New Zealand track cyclist at world championship level, claiming eight medals including three rainbow jerseys, along with seven medals over three Commonwealth Games.

Dawkins, noted for his immense physique, whole-hearted performances, unique humour and celebrated tattoos, had been contemplating the next stage of his career after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

With the postponement until 2021, Dawkins has decided that the commitment for a further 15 months is a bridge too far.

"To now face a further year on top of that, and with no certainty even then, is a step too far for me. If I can't give my heart and soul to this, to continue to improve and get faster, then anything less would be letting myself down and above all else, letting my team-mates down.

"I've been in the high performance programme over 12 years and it's been on a wild journey. Ethan, Sam and me have been like brothers. We've been to the top of the world and spent countless hours together in training, travelling and competing."

Dawkins said he was particularly grateful for the love and support from his parents and his wife and also the support of the Southland community.

The team sprint trio first medal on the world stage came with a bronze at Melbourne in 2012 and silver in Minsk the following year.

The breakthrough world championship title came at altitude in Cali in 2014, followed by a silver on a technicality to hosts France in the 2015 final in Paris, before further rainbow jerseys at London in 2016 and Hong Kong in 2017.

They broke the Olympic record at the Rio Olympics before being pipped by 0.1s to Great Britain in the gold medal final.

Dawkins is a superb exponent in the keirin, earning world championship silver medals in 2015 and 2016.

He was ranked No 1 in the World Cup rankings for individual sprint in 2014; the first New Zealand sprinter to go under the 10-second barrier in the 200m sprint and the first under the one-minute barrier at sea level in the 1000m time trial.

Having completed his international coaching course qualifications Dawkins is set to move into the coaching area.