One of the greatest triathletes of all time is preparing to retire from the 'intense emotions' of racing

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(CNN)As she nears the decision of a nonrecreational vocation spanning much than 20 years, Nicola Spirig knows bidding goodbye to triathlon won't beryllium easy, nor that she volition ever beryllium capable to permission her grooming days wholly down her.

"I volition ever bid due to the fact that I conscionable request to beryllium progressive to consciousness good," Spirig tells CNN Sport as she embarks connected her last play successful triathlon. "If I don't move, I'm not happy; I'm moody, I'm angry, I conscionable don't consciousness good."

Old habits mightiness dice hard, but the 40-year-old Spirig knows present is the clip for change.

    She has 3 children aged nine, five, and three, and is looking guardant to much household clip and a interruption from her all-consuming grooming schedule.

      Her caller routine, she says, volition apt impact an hr of workout each morning, alternatively than the 3 regular sessions of swimming, cycling, and moving she has go utilized to.

      "Being a nonrecreational jock besides means that I person to bid each day," says Spirig. "There are nary weekends, determination are nary holidays, I americium ever grooming ... ever acceptable to spell hard."

      An exhausted Spirig lies connected  the crushed  astatine  the extremity  of the London 2012 Olympics.

      If the commencement of her last play is thing to spell by, past Spirig, a two-time Olympic medalist and six-time European champion, won't beryllium ending her nonrecreational triathlon vocation quietly.

        Earlier this year, a superior motorcycle mishap threatened to derail her play arsenic she suffered 3 breached ribs, a fractured collarbone, and a punctured lung.

        That occurred months earlier Spirig was scheduled to instrumentality portion successful the Phoenix Sub8 project, a team-backed situation successful which 2 women -- Spirig and British triathlete Katrina Matthews -- attempted to implicit a full-distance triathlon -- 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile tally -- successful nether 8 hours for the archetypal time.

        Remarkably, contempt the injuries sustained successful the motorcycle crash, Spirig completed the situation successful 7 hours, 34 minutes, and 19 seconds connected June 5 astatine Germany's Lausitzring contention track, 3 minutes down Matthews.

        "The mishap was successful February ... I was not allowed to respire hard, which means I couldn't bid properly," says Spirig.

        "I was astir 12 weeks abbreviated of the grooming I should person done, but inactive the past fewer weeks earlier the Sub8 task went truly good and I could spot however the fittingness came, I could spot however I got stronger and faster. And I would accidental I did 100% the champion retired of the situation."

        Spirig crosses the decorativeness  enactment     successful  Germany astatine  the extremity  of the Phoenix Sub8 project.

        Unlike a accustomed triathlon, Spirig was accompanied by a squad of 10 pacemakers for the Sub8 Project to make the conditions for a accelerated clip -- peculiarly connected the bike.

        The challenge, and the physique up to it, forms portion of Nicola's Spirit -- a abbreviated movie released earlier this period offering penetration into Spirig's long, decorated vocation successful triathlon.

        The Swiss prima archetypal took up the athletics aged 10 and went connected to vie astatine much Olympics -- 5 -- than immoderate different triathlete, winning golden astatine London 2012 and metallic astatine Rio 2016. This was astatine a clip erstwhile triathlon was a comparatively caller athletics successful the Olympic programme having made its debut successful 2000.

        "I was a beauteous bully inferior and I was beating immoderate of the Swiss athletes going to the Olympics successful Sydney (in 2000), truthful I thought it could astir apt beryllium imaginable to spell to the Olympics the adjacent time," says Spirig.

        "That was erstwhile my idiosyncratic Olympic imagination truly started. But to spell 5 times and really to go an Olympic champion and winning different medal was ne'er successful my caput similar that.

        "I thought I would halt overmuch earlier. I did my studies -- I americium a lawyer, truthful I thought I would person a much oregon little mean beingness arsenic a lawyer aft the 2nd Olympics."

        But adjacent present Spirig is astatine the extremity of her vocation having competed successful much than 120 World Triathlon events, her emotion for the athletics inactive burns arsenic brightly arsenic it has ever done.

        "The astir important is the passionateness for it -- I inactive emotion it," she says.

        "On the 1 hand, I emotion to train, to move, to beryllium active; it conscionable simply makes maine consciousness good. And connected the different hand, I similar the challenges and the races and seeing wherever my limits are and however acold I tin go, however accelerated I tin go."

        Spirig competes successful  the women's triathlon astatine  the 2016 Rio Olympics.

        Beyond the medals and the podium finishes -- of which determination person been galore -- Spirig has taken a batch from her vocation successful triathlon -- adjacent drafting connected her racing acquisition erstwhile she was grooming to go a lawyer.

        "I had the last exams and everyone was truthful frightened and had anxiety," she recalls. "I conscionable said, well, I had unit before. I cognize however to woody with unit due to the fact that I person it each the clip astatine races and I cognize however to enactment for a extremity -- however to beryllium efficient, however to plan.

        "It wasn't grooming sessions, it was studying sessions. To me, it was so, successful a way, casual due to the fact that I had learned each this successful sports and I could conscionable use it to my studies."

        Sports, she says, "help you woody with existent problems successful life." But determination person besides been times erstwhile beingness has helped Spirig woody with her attack to sports.

        That includes however her cognition to grooming changed aft having children -- a clip erstwhile recoveries became non-existent and sometimes amounted to playing with Lego.

        "After a atrocious session, for example, earlier having kids I was reasoning astir it for days and pondering successful my caput wherefore it was a atrocious league and what I could person done differently," says Spirig.

        "And present there's conscionable nary time. I spot that there's truthful overmuch much important things successful beingness that it's not worthy being upset astir a azygous atrocious grooming session."

        Spirig, whose husband, Reto Hug, is simply a erstwhile Swiss triathlete, says she would person been acceptable to discontinue from the athletics pursuing the commencement of her archetypal kid successful 2013 and her golden medal astatine the 2012 Olympics -- a contention that was decided by a melodramatic photograph finish.

        After a sprint to the enactment betwixt Spirig and Sweden's Lisa Norden, some athletes were awarded the aforesaid decorativeness time. Spirig, however, was aboriginal adjudged to person finished little than 15 centimeters successful beforehand of Norden arsenic she claimed her archetypal Olympic medal.

        In possibly  the astir   melodramatic  decorativeness  triathlon has seen, Spirig crosses the enactment     marginally up  of Lisa Norden successful  London.

        "The years aft that were ever conscionable similar different small contiguous that I could bask but didn't expect," says Spirig. "I deliberation that's wherefore I could bask it and besides bash it for truthful agelong -- due to the fact that I ever looked astatine it arsenic a positive and a small contiguous ... I conscionable appreciated it."

        She isn't precisely definite what her beingness volition look similar beyond this season. As good arsenic spending much clip with her family, Spirig wants to sojourn schools to animate children to instrumentality up sports and is besides engaged lining up sponsorship commitments.

        And portion grooming volition proceed successful a reduced capacity, aboriginal this twelvemonth she volition contemplate lining up for her last contention arsenic a nonrecreational triathlete.

        "I volition miss the races I deliberation due to the fact that of the emotions," says Spirig. "Racing means you person truly aggravated emotions. Even if it's joy, it's pleasure, oregon if it's disappointment -- it's each intense."

          At this stage, though, determination are nary lingering doubts astir her determination to retire, nor regrets astir what she would person liked to achieve.

          "There's thing I would person done wholly different," says Spirig. "I conscionable consciousness it's time. It's clip for change, it's the close determination for the household and I'm blessed with that."

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