GOLDEN girl Saskia Clark has revealed she has struggled to cope with retirement after achieving her lifelong dream of becoming an Olympic champion.

Alongside Hannah Mills, Saskia, 40, of West Mersea, won silver in the 470 class at London 2012 and went one better to win gold at Rio 2016.

Saskia was also made an MBE but now her competitive career is over, she said finding a new purpose and dealing with life away from sport has been a challenge.

She said: “I’m not going to lie, I’ve struggled a bit on my own with retirement.

“It’s been a lot more complicated than I thought it would be. It’s just hard.

“As a former Olympic sailor, you don’t have enough money to retire to a desert island in comfort and my ultimate dream was always a gold medal.

“Leaving sailing in the best way, winning that gold, took away the dream I had since I was 12. I’ve had to find some new goals, some new dreams and some new aspirations to chase.”

Saskia was speaking at the Olympic Park in Stratford where she joined 25 past and present British athletes to mark the 25-year anniversary of the National Lottery.

Since the lottery’s first draw took place in November 1994, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage, culture, film, charity and community, with more than 4,500 elite athletes receiving grants enabling them to access the best coaching, facilities and support staff.

Saskia said: “You need a real mix of skills to succeed. You need the experience and the Olympic Games smarts.

“The Olympics is such a big deal for sailing. It’s our standout event for four years, you might only ever go to one Games. You really need to and want to deliver for that one week in August.”

To see the impact the National Lottery has had on your community over the past 25 years by visit and get involved by using the 25th hashtag: #NationalLottery25.