POOLE-based Olympic champion Hannah Mills is among a plethora of retiring Team GB sailors, the British Sailing Team has announced.

The incredible Mills, 34, became the most decorated female Olympic sailor of all-time with gold in the women's 470 alongside Eilidh McIntyre.

Her gold at Tokyo 2020 came after gold at Rio 2016 and silver at London 2012. She was named flag bearer for Team GB at the Tokyo opening ceremony.

Joining her in retirement is Portland-based Stuart Bithell, who won a sensational gold with crew Dylan Fletcher in the men's 49er at Tokyo 2020.

His gold backed up silver in the men's 470 at London 2012.

Giles Scott, who was previously based in Dorset and still has family in the area, has called time on a glittering career which featured back-to-back golds in the Finn class at Rio and Tokyo.

READ MORE: Hannah Mills creates history with Olympic gold

Also hanging up her sails is Charlotte Dobson, who married Fletcher in the summer.

Portland-based Dobson is a two-time Olympian and multi-medal winner on the World Cup circuit.

Ali Young, who competed at three Olympic Games in the Laser Radial class, has also stepped away from competition.

Speaking after announcing her decision, Mills said: "Sadly my Olympic campaigning is coming to an end – the 470 is going mixed for Paris 2024 and for me, in terms of my career, this is the perfect time to step away and explore other options.

Dorset Echo: Hannah Mills has decided to retire from sailing Picture: SAM MELLISH/TEAM GBHannah Mills has decided to retire from sailing Picture: SAM MELLISH/TEAM GB

"I’ll be working on my sustainability campaign which I’m really passionate about while exploring some exciting opportunities in women’s sailing.

"It was a difficult decision and yet also an easy one. What made it hard was just how incredible the Olympic Games is – it’s like nothing else on Earth.

"It’s a strange one – you dream of winning an Olympic gold medal but I certainly never dreamed of winning multiple medals and becoming the most successful female Olympic sailor.

"It’s surreal when you add up the 15 years or so of Olympic campaigning and it leads to that accolade. It’s surreal but amazing.

"Records are there to be broken though, and that’s what inspires other female athletes to push harder. It will be exciting to see what comes next.”

On his decision to retire, Bithell said: "I guess I’ve hung my boots up for now. I’ve done three cycles and it’s time to move on to other areas of the sport.

Dorset Echo: Stuart Bithell, right, has stepped away from sailing Picture: SAILING ENERGYStuart Bithell, right, has stepped away from sailing Picture: SAILING ENERGY

"It’s nice to stop here at the top – it would take a lot of hard work to regroup and go again for Paris. I’ve done the Olympic thing now and I want to move my career on to other areas of the sport.

"It feels like the right time. And of course I’m getting old!

“I think my best memories of my career are of the Olympic Games themselves, it’s such a pinnacle that you work so hard to get to and then when you’re there, because all the hard work has been done you can enjoy the moment.

"Certainly winning silver with Luke Patience in London at a home Olympics was incredible.

"I didn’t qualify for Rio 2016 and decided to put everything on the line one more time and that came off good with Tokyo.

"Actually being at Tokyo and performing to our best was just perfect.”

Scott also shared his thoughts, adding: "I’m done, speaking simply. I’ve been in Olympic classes sailing now for nearly 14 years, done two Olympic Games, had a really good innings and now it’s time for me to move on to other things.

"It actually feels OK (to be retiring). If I’m brutally honest it feels just fine.

"I’ve been doing it for so long and have put so much into it, and I’m lucky to have been successful, and it’s time to do other things.

"I’ve absolutely loved my Olympic sailing but I feel like it’s been a chapter in a bigger book. I’m sad to be leaving but for sure it’s time to go.”

Dobson admitted she would not venture far from Portland after retiring.

Dorset Echo: Charlotte Dobson, right, has called time on her career Picture: WORLD SAILING/SAILING ENERGYCharlotte Dobson, right, has called time on her career Picture: WORLD SAILING/SAILING ENERGY

She said: "The latest news for me is that I’m going to hang up my sailing boots and trapeze harness and say goodbye to the Olympic world.

"It’s been an amazing period of time, and now I’m going on to work out what the next thing is. It was a pretty easy decision to be honest.

"I genuinely felt in the couple of years before Tokyo that Saskia (Tidey) and I had given ourselves the best chance of winning a medal in Tokyo.

"We’d worked with some incredible coaches and support staff, and had some amazing sailors in our training groups. When you’re proud of the campaign you put together you have to accept the result at the end.

"We gave it a really good crack but it wasn’t enough at the end. I think you have to know when it’s time to say that we did our best but it wasn’t really good enough.

"I’m dipping my toes into the real world slowly, and I’m hopefully going to find a job in banking. I’m definitely not going very far from Portland, I love it here.

"Sailing has brought me all the way from the west coast of Scotland to this little island and I love it. I won’t be completely disappearing.”