Tokyo Olympics: Veteran Kiwi triathlete Ryan Sissons retires as doubts linger over 2021 reschedule

The postponement of the Olympic Games has prompted one of the country's premier triathletes to retire.

With no guarantees the Tokyo Games will go ahead in 2021, Ryan Sissons has decided to hang up his shoes and end his pursuit for a maiden Olympic medal.

But it's not the way the 32-year-old imagined his retirement playing out.

"I'd always had ambitions to retire after Tokyo 2020," Sissons tells Newshub.

"But with the date pushed out another year, it really gave me a chance to figure out if it was something I could be committed to doing for another year. 

"I understand and I know what it takes to be your very best in this sport and I know the commitment and the dedication and sacrifice that's required to get what I wanted to get out of Tokyo.

"[I was] going there for a result rather than an experience, it wasn't in me anymore and it became pretty clear that if I wanted to do it I needed to do it properly, because I wanted to go there for a result, it was all about that, and there comes a time where you just have to move on, and now is the right time for me, I'm happy with that."

Sissons has plenty of achievements to look back fondly at when he reflects on his more than decade long triathlon journey.

Two ITU World Cup wins, a Commonwealth Games bronze medal and he competed at two Commonwealth and two Olympic Games.

The only thing that eluded him was standing on top of an Olympic dais.

"I would have loved to have won a gold medal, everyone wants to win a gold medal, but if medals were given out for experiences, then I've won gold.

"But it's been a really awesome time obviously, its an experience I'll never forget and never regret but yeah, this year has just given me time to process what I wanted to do outside of sport in the future."

Sissons has never been afraid to speak up against issues facing the sport of triathlon, and he doesn't plan on holding back his opinions, despite stepping away from the sport.

"I've always been an open and honest athlete and if something pisses me off I'm

more than happy to tell the person that it's pissing me off.

"I don't regret that, it's how I am, it's how I'll continue to be, and if you ask me something I'll tell you the truth and that's how it is, and there's been ups and downs throughout this process, but I'm still here, I'm still doing it, because I love it.

"There's always hurdles you're gonna come across, it's just how you get through them, and this retirement is a decision on my own terms and it's because I wanna do it, not because I'm forced."

Already eyeing his next move, Sissons isn't completely stepping away from multi-sport.

"I want to run a marathon. I want to run a marathon fast and  I want to do an Ironman." 

Watch the video above for the full story.