Three-time Olympic gold medallist Marcus Hellner, right, of Sweden has announced his retirement ©Getty Images

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Marcus Hellner of Sweden has announced his retirement from cross-country skiing at the age of 32.

Hellner claimed the men's 30 kilometres pursuit title at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, where he was also a member of the 4x10km relay team which finished at the top of the podium.

He then helped the Swedish team defend their relay crown four years later in Sochi.

Hellner also clinched silver in the 30km skiathlon race in the Russian city.

The 32-year-old Swede earned a total of seven World Championship medals during his career, including sprint gold in Oslo in 2011.

Hellner has decided to call time on his spell as a professional athlete as he claimed he no longer had the "100 per cent drive needed to move on".

"Completing the effort is not an easy decision to take," he said. 

"It's a fun life to go skiing and I'm doing well in the national team. 

"But the most important thing is to always do as good as you can and I feel I have not driven it all the way. 

"Then I can not motivate myself to continue."

The Swedish athlete has not revealed what his future plans are yet as he said he needed some time to decide what he will do next.

"I'm incredibly pleased with the years that have been and for all of whom I've learned during the trip," he added.

"Thank you for your presence there, all the clubs and sponsors, fans, national teams, family and friends."