Former European indoor and outdoor long jump champion Sebastian Bayer has announced his retirement at the age of 31.
Bayer was aiming to make a final hurrah this summer on home soil at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships but he has conceded his right knee will no longer allow him to train at a level required to challenge for a place on the German team.
Bayer, who has only competed a handful of times since the 2014 European Championships in Zurich, had two operations on his right knee in 2016 but a bone edema has continued to scupper his preparations. "My body, in this case my right knee, does not keep up with the stresses that I have to sustain in my daily workouts,” he told Leichtathletik.de.
"I knew it would be a tough, rocky road and it would take some good luck to make it to my final sporting goal but I did not want to leave anything unturned and give it my all. I can end this period of life admittedly with a heavy heart, but satisfied and happy."
Bayer claimed three European long jump titles between 2009 and 2012. His most notable triumph came at the 2009 European Indoor Championships in Turin where he produced a performance of historic proportions, sailing out to a European record of 8.71m in the sixth round to move to second on the world all-time lists behind Carl Lewis.
Former European indoor and outdoor long jump champion @SebBayer has announced his retirement.
Throwback to Bayer setting an incredible European indoor long jump record of 8.71m at the 2009 European Indoor Championships in Turin. pic.twitter.com/p3NphlmPWj
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) January 19, 2018
Bayer, whose pre-competition lifetime best stood at 8.17m, had already set a German record of 8.29m in the first round to secure the title before a performance which shocked even the winner himself.
“Honestly I cannot tell you how I did it!” said Bayer after the competition. “When I landed I knew it was a long one, but I had hoped for maybe 8.30 or perhaps 8.40 metres. When 8.71m flashed up at the scoreboard, I was speechless.”
Bayer reclaimed his title in Paris two years later before adding the European outdoor title in Helsinki the following year to his collection. He also competed at two Olympic Games (2008 and 2012) and three editions of the World Championships (2009, 2011 and 2013).
Bayer is also ranked equal second with Christian Reif on the German outdoor all-time lists with 8.49m behind the long-standing record of 8.54m set by Lutz Dombrowski at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.