Olympic medal winner Crista Cullen announces retirement from Great Britain hockey squad
Olympic bronze medal winner Crista Cullen has decided to retire from international hockey.
The Lincolnshire-born defender was part of the Great Britain squad which beat New Zealand 3-1 in the bronze play-off at the London 2012 Games.
A fierce competitor, Cullen helped England to a first ever World Cup bronze medal in 2010, the Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy bronze medals in the same year, and four European Championship bronze medals in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011.
In 2012, she helped Great Britain to the country’s best ever finish at a world level tournament, with silver at the Champions Trophy.
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However, at the age of 27, she has decided to call it a day following 171 international appearances.
"After much deliberation I have finally decided to hang up my stick," said Cullen, who made a name for herself as a short-corner specialist at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
"I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who played their part in my international career, no matter how big or small.
"Together as a united squad we were able to be a part of something amazing, of which I am very proud and will remember fondly as I move forward in my new challenges.
"I have no doubts that the new programme will have the same passion, fight and desire as the last and would like to wish everyone the very best of luck, I will, of course, be watching with interest from afar."
Cullen is one of five Great Britain players to step down from the international scene.
She is joined by Beth Storry from the women's squad, while from the men’s squad, triple Olympian Ben Hawes, double Olympian Mark Pearn and Ken Forbes have all retired.
England Hockey Performance Director Danny Kerry said: "Each of these athletes has in their own way contributed massively to the national teams.
"The commitment they have each shown is testimony to their characters. We are very grateful for all they have given to the national teams and hockey in this country.
"I would personally like to wish them well with their future directions in life and I hope they will retain their links with us and the sport."