Rhys Thornbury was the only skeleton athlete to represent New Zealand at Pyeongchang 2018 ©IBSF

New Zealand's Rhys Thornbury has announced his retirement from skeleton.

The 28-year-old has decided to end his career after seven years of competition.

Thornbury began competitive sliding in 2011 and has won two International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) North American Cup races in his career.

The slider competed in his first IBSF World Cup event in January 2015.

He finished eighth in January 2017 at the Königssee World Cup event in Germany, which was his career best.

Thornbury favoured the Königssee course as he also performed at his best in the 2017 IBSF World Championships there.

He competed at three World Championships in all, finishing 11th at Königssee in a total time of 3 min 27.22sec.

Thornbury also qualified to compete at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

A total of 50 athletes from 24 nations competed in the skeleton events, where Thornbury was New Zealand's sole representative.

After three runs, Thornbury was ranked in sixth position as all three runs had put him in the top ten.

His quickest run was number three, posting a time of 50.65sec.

His fourth and final run was fraught and was the 20th best time.

His time of 52.14 in run four made his total 3:24.72 secs and pushed him down into 14th place.