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At the age of 38, Lydia Valentín (El Bierzo) has decided to put an end to her career as an elite athlete. At the Spanish Olympic Committee and accompanied by family, friends and journalists who have followed her throughout her sporting career, Lydia has given her farewell speech with words of optimism about the new stage that is about to begin "From today begins a new life for me that I am sure will be full of success since I carry in my character the values that he has instilled in me high-performance sport and that tans your skin," he said.

"I leave happy, full, calm and very grateful. I have achieved so much more than I ever imagined. I have put my sport at the top of the world and I have made history in my country," he said with a nervous tone of voice during his speech. But the last phase of his career has not been very positive. Lydia competed for the last time on August 2, 2021, at the Tokyo Olympic Games to which she went already injured in the hip, which did not allow her to perform at her highest level and finished in 10th place in the classification, she was 15 kilos away from getting, at least, the Olympic diploma.

Since then, Valentin has tried to fully recover from that injury. He registered this summer for the Havana Grand Prix, which was held in June, and we all thought it would be his return to competition, but it was not like that, he could not compete. Nor did he travel to Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) for the World Weightlifting Championships that was held from September 3 to 17 and that was vital to get the Olympic pass.

Still injured and unable to attend, the hopes of being in Paris were also over. "I had the illusion of going to Paris, but the Olympics demand a lot from you. There are 300 days left and you have to give your best, but with a hip injury I've had it's complicated. It was clear to me that I wasn't going to compete if I'm not the usual Lydia. I have achieved everything, and to compete again knowing that what I fight I already have, after a year and a half injured, makes me think about my health, "he said during his farewell speech.

Medals with sweet and sour taste

And it is that after Mireia Belmonte and Saúl Craviotto were the standard bearers of our country at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Lydia hoped to fulfill that role in next year's Games in France, which for her was a dream, and that would be very close to fulfilling since she is another of the great figures of our sport that well deserved to carry the flag on the initial day of The Olympic event. Although we will not see her in Paris, the Berciana accumulates in her long palmares three Olympic medals, one of each metal, in three different events. But Lydia's medals have an unpleasant intrahistory.

In several interviews, such as, for example, the one he made in the program of 'El Hormiguero' in January 2018, Valentín said that "there are two types of weightlifting, the dark one, in which everything goes, in which there is state 'doping' and to win anything is done, and real weightlifting, which respects values and that it is an Olympic movement, the other is a show."

In this statement, Lydia referred to her medals in Beijing 2008 and London 2012, which were awarded to her 10 years late, after carrying out the relevant anti-doping tests on the athletes who had finished ahead of her and who finally ended up sanctioned.

In that same talk, Lydia says that before traveling to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro she was confirmed that she was going to be awarded the gold medal of London 2012 after the three women who had occupied the podium positions were disqualified for doping. And after the appointment in Brazil, they assure him that he also had the silver medal in Beijing 2008 since the 1st and 3rd classified had been eliminated.

Although justice has finally been done in terms of the result, the moment of getting on the podium to receive the medal in an Olympic Games is one of the most special for an athlete. In the case of Lydia, she could only enjoy it in a real way in Rio de Janeiro, when she hung the bronze. However, the two previous Olympic events were left without that moment of prominence.

His successes, more than Olympics

But Lydia Valentín not only has medals in Olympic Games, but has also achieved "the triple crown", which consists of getting a gold medal in the Olympics, World Championships (2017 and 2018), and European Championships (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018).

Lydia's career has been long, intense and successful. As she herself has said in the COE: "It is brutal that people remember Lydia Valentín with weightlifting, a sport that is not a power in Spain." A path that has not traveled alone, so it has also remembered those who have supported it all these years. "I want to thank from the bottom of my heart each and every one of the people who have accompanied me in my sports career. Thank you for believing in me and for your support. Therefore, more than a farewell, I would like it to be a celebration of my sporting career," he concluded.