2008 Olympic pole vault champion Hooker retires

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ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) - Former Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker of Australia has announced he is retiring from the sport, saying he is still physically fit but doesn’t have the mental drive to continue at the top.

The 31-year-old Hooker, who won gold at the Beijing Games in 2008, says “I honestly thought the body would be the one that would give way, and that would be the end … but it has almost been the opposite.”

From 2008 to 2010, he won every major title in his event - the Olympics, world indoors and outdoors championships. But Hooker had difficulty qualifying for the 2012 Olympics due to what he often called the pole vaulting “yips,” and did not make the London final.

Hooker married Russian middle-distance runner Katya Kostetskaya, and the couple had a son, Max, last year.

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