NORTH-EAST Winter Olympian Matt Parr has announced his retirement from competitive figure skating.

The four-time British champion, who is from South Shields, has called time on his career less than two months after making his Olympic debut with a performance in the team event at Sochi.

The 24-year-old, who moved to Dundee in order to make it at the highest level of figure skating, has also competed at World and European Figure Skating Championships, and finished eighth at the prestigious Volvo Cup event earlier this season.

“I’ve decided the time is right to retire as I feel that I’ve reached my personal goals in the sport,” said Parr. “I also have other goals in life that I want I achieve, so I feel that now is the right time to step away from competitive skating and focus on other things for my future.

“My career highlight was undoubtedly competing at the Olympic Games in Sochi – it was an amazing experience and one I’ll never forget.

“Right now, I'm going to enjoy skating professionally for a year and I hope to move back home to Newcastle.

“I'm hopeful for the future of men's figure skating in Britain. I believe we have some good people looking out for the best interests of British skating.”

Hilary Selby, performance director for the National Ice Skating Association, added: “We would like to place on record our thanks and congratulations to Matt and wish him the very best for the future.

“Matt started out as British junior champion in 2003-04 and finished as British senior champion earlier this season which shows the level of consistency he has delivered during a ten-year career.

“He is a fantastic role model for the sport and it was wonderful to see him compete in the Winter Olympics in February.”