Melanie Turgeon of Canada retires at age 28Melanie Turgeon, the Canadian downhiller who won gold at the 2003 alpine world championships in St. Moritz, announced her retirement today at age 28.
“After spending close to half of my life as a member of the national team, I am announcing that I am very proud of my skiing career, and I have decided to retire from competition,” said Turgeon.
The news was first reported Thursday in the Globe and Mail.
“I was lucky to coach her because I had a big talent in hand,” said Turgeon’s long-time coach Piotr Jelen.
Turgeon blasted onto the scene of international competition in 1994 at the world junior championships in Lake Louise, winning five medals there.
Over the course of her career, Turgeon had 41 top-10 finishes in World Cups. She won a World Cup super G at Innsbruck in 2000.
In recent years, she suffered from chronic back pain. But she was healthy enough to score the crowning acheivement of her career in 2003, winning the world championship downhill in St. Moritz. The ceremony left her crying on the podium.
“I am retiring at a time when my back is still strong, but cannot support the weight of competitive skiing,” Turgeon said today in a statement released by her ski team.
“Over the last two years, I never lost my motivation to come back among the best in the world and that is why I spared no effort to strengthen my back as much as possible. But during recent training camps on snow, I realized that my lumbar structure may have too much wear and tear, and that it no longer resists to the gravitational demands that are specific to competitive skiing.”
Max Gartner, the chief athletic officer for Alpine Canada, said “It’s a big loss for us to lose an athlete of the calabier of Melanie. I have to say that our young athletes learned a lot from her and we feel we have some athletes well prepared for the Olympics.”