Emma calls time on stellar career

Published 5:00pm 4 June 2024

Emma calls time on stellar career
Words by Nick Crockford

Emma Jackson, who grew up and went to school in Pine Rivers, has called time on an 18-year triathlon career which took her to the Olympics and a world title.

The 32-year-old, who calls Joyner home, announced her retirement “with sadness, happiness and every emotion in between” on social media.

She went from Pine Rivers Triathlon Club to become an Under 23 World Champion, London Olympian, Glasgow Commonwealth Games medallist and earn six World Series podium finishes.

“Sometimes no matter how much the heart and mind wants something, physically it isn’t meant to be anymore,” the former pupil at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Bray Park, said.

“But it’s ok, these past 18 years have brought me so much that I don’t regret it for a second.”

Injuries have hit Jackson hard in recent years and she has brought the curtain down on her career at a time when many triathletes are reaching their peak.

In fact, Jackson told AusTriathlon injuries were a key factor in calling time on her “final goal” - being selected for this year’s Paris Olympic Games.

“Unfortunately, I still became injured again recently, which meant I was unable to race events leading in the final selection period,” Jackson said in the AusTriathlon interview.

“I would love to still be competing and vying for a position on the team however I know my body can’t do that right now or to the standard I would be happy with.

“I know this is the right time to retire and move on to the next stage of my life.”

Jackson, who regularly swam at Lawnton Aquatic Centre and ran and cycled around Pine Rivers, made her Australian debut at the 2007 World Junior Championships, finishing 24th.

A year later she was fifth in Canada and second on the Gold Coast in 2009, when she also became the youngest winner of the Noosa Triathlon and Australian Junior Triathlete of the Year.

Jackson stepped up to the Under 23 ranks in 2010 - a year earlier than she had to - and won the world championship in Budapest, over the Olympic distances.

She was the second youngest competitor in the 2012 London Olympic triathlon and was with the leaders in the final discipline (running) but slipped back to finish eighth.

However, she won Commonwealth Games bronze in 2014 in the Mixed Team Relay and then silver in the same event at the 2015 and 2016 World Championships.

Jackson had victories in the 2017 World Cup and Oceania Championships of 2019, when she also won her first World Triathlon Series event in Canada – which she says was her greatest achievement having missed the 2018 season with injury.

“But at the same time, it isn’t the achievements I’ll remember forever but the many memories and experiences I made along the way,” Jackson said on her Instagram page.

“Not everyone understands the relentless pursuit and dedication towards something that may never be achieved but I believe this is what truly makes elite sport so special.”

Emma calls time on stellar career
Emma Jackson at Lawnton Aquatic Centre , a key training venue when she was in Pine Rivers.

There was also a touching tribute to the sport which has dominated her life for almost two decades.

“Triathlon you have shown me the world, welcomed so many special people into my life, pushed me beyond belief, shown me what I’m capable of achieving and that if knocked down I can get back up,” Jackson wrote.

“Yet you’ve shown me heartbreak, challenged me in more ways than one and bought me many disappointments along the way.

“But with each and every moment you’ve made me the person I am today and I’ll be forever grateful.”

Jackson hopes to remain in high performance sport – husband Drew Box is part of a triathlon coaching team – but when announcing her retirement in late April did not have a “clear plan” of her future.


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