Introduction by Sportscene, Rob van Bommel - Ask me for three words to describe Campbell and I would give you well-considered, intelligent and approachable. We really enjoyed working with Campbell as an athlete and knowing him as a person. I also got the impression that Campbell was liked and highly regarded by many of his sports colleagues. But let me keep this introduction brief and finish it by quoting Helmut Oblinger:
You were a great athlete & you will always be remembered. Thanks for having the honour to race with you.
Ok, one more from Luuka Jones:
Thanks for being such an inspiration Campbell. Good luck with the 'real world' and hopefully see you around.
Campbell Walsh | Nottingham, Waltham Abbey - After 26 years since I first went in a kayak, 23 years of slalom competitions, 19 seasons as a member of a GB team, 13 years of considering myself a full-time athlete...
... I am retiring from my pursuit of excellence in canoe slalom.
I wanted to write something, to make it 'official'. What to write, has been on my mind for a while. Do I make a simple statement, short and sweet? Or do I take the time to individually thank everyone who has helped me have a long and fulfilling paddling career, explain my motivations over the years, and my feelings on retiring? I'll try to do something in the middle!
I'd said for a few years that I would most likely retire at the end of 2012. Committing to that decision has been difficult. I've been living in a little canoe slalom bubble for most of my life, being lucky enough to pursue my childhood passion. To leave that, and enter the real world, actually have to work for a living, is a bit scary.
In my mind, I semi-retired after Seu World Cup at the end of June. I stopped weight training and paddled less than normal. But I could never bring myself to make a firm decision about my future. What if I wanted to change my mind? Maybe I would keep training? I would hesitate when mentioning the R word to anyone.
Since the final World Cups I've become more and more comfortable with the decision in my head. On reflection, it has been a good process. To go from full-on training to nothing the next day would have been far too abrupt.
I am now fully retired. And I'm completely happy with that!
This doesn't mean you won't see me in a boat again. For a start, I'm competing at the British Open this weekend, to end the 2012 season. I'm sure I will always own a kayak, stay in touch with my paddling friends, and follow the sport closely.
I like stats and numbers, so here are a few I am proud of. Of the 67 major international competitions I contested, 1999-2012 (senior individual category at World Cups, European Champs, World Champs and Olympic Games) I had
- 29 x top 10 places
- 20 x top 5 places
- 11 x medals
- 1 x gold, 4 x silver, 1 x bronze at World Cups
- 1 x gold, 1 x bronze at European Championships
- 2 x bronze at World Championships
- 1 x silver at Olympic Games
In addition, I won the World Cup Overall in 2004. Have continuously been the highest placed Brit in the World Rankings since 2004. And won a very memorable team race in front of a home crowd at the Nottingham Euro Champs.
Domestically, I won more than 30 Premier Division races and wore bib no.1 as British National Champion 4 times (plus potentially a 5th depending on the final race this weekend!).
Over these 26 years of paddling, so many people played a role in inspiring me, helping me and supporting me - to both achieve the above results, and live an enjoyable and rewarding life. Some have had a huge and obvious influence, some a more subtle impact. I cant possibly go into detail for each one, so I will simply write a list of names.
Mum, Dad, Kimberley, Stuart Turner, Johnny Brown, Catherine Brown, Donald McKechnie, Mark Delaney, Tim Baillie, Barry Paton, Alastair Campbell, Heather Payne, Fiona Campbell, Kev McHugh, Simon Cooper, Mark Goodfellow, Dave Kenny, Paul Mitchell, Andy Nichol, David Florence, Fraser Florence, Richard Lee, Alan Edge, Rob Wright, Dave Crosbee, Rachel Crosbee, Shaun Pearce, Andy Raspin, Ian Raspin, Jim Jayes, Jurg Gotz, Paul Ratcliffe, Anthony Brown, Stuart Bowman, Nick Smith, Neil Caffrey, Eoin Rheinisch, Huw Swetnam, Richard Hounslow, Andy Hadfield, Laura Blakeman, Stu Morris, Daniel Menton, Darren Cresser, Bruce Duncan, Ed Kay, Etienne Stott, Rob Soothill, Stuart Pitt, Steven Turnbull, Andrew Turnbull, Iain Simpson, Lachie Milne, Robin Bell, Justin Boocock, Kate Flecchia, Margie Olds, Julie Pearce, Kate Strachan, Nick Pierce, Daniele Molmenti, Fabian Dorfler, Peter Kauzer, Fabien Lefevre, Julien Billaut, Ivan Pisvejc, Scott Shipley, Michal Martikan, Tony Estanguet, David Ford, Helmut Oblinger, Mike Dawson, Vavra Hradilek, Dejan Kralj, Dariusz Popiela, Hugh Mantle, Barney Wainright, Jamie Pringle, John Anderson, John Macleod, Julia Wells, Dave Clark, Naomi Hoogesteger, Mark Proctor, Tom Brady, Lizzie Neave, Fiona Pennie, Kogg, Nomad, Ras Dex, Double Dutch, Zig Zag, Sandiline, Raab-Paddles, Nelo, Galasport.
Plus many more friends and associates from the paddling family, sorry if I missed you out! Thank you to you all.