FILE UNDER -- Freestyle

Olympic moguls bronze medalist Toby Dawson retires at age 27

Olympic moguls bronze medalist Toby Dawson retires at age 27PARK CITY, Utah — Olympic moguls bronze medalist Toby Dawson, the reigning dual moguls world champion, is retiring after seven seasons of World Cup skiing. “My heart’s no longer in it,” he said.

Dawson, 27, born in South Korea and adopted by a pair of married ski instructors when he was 3, won three World Championships medals — gold in duals in 2005; bronze in moguls and duals (at Deer Valley, Utah) in 2003; bronze in the Winter Games of Torino in February. He also was a six-time winner on the World Cup tour and registered nine other top-three finishes in addition to being the 2002 U.S. moguls gold medalist.

He originally planned to take off for the upcoming winter, giving his body a chance to heal from all the pounding it’s taken with his aggressive, crowd-pleasing style. However, he said, “I didn’t see reason to drag it on any longer. I’ve been thinking about taking the year off and the reality is my heart’s no longer in it.

“It’s such an enjoyable sport, but you have to move on. Life moves on,” Dawson said. “From the day I made the ski team, it’s been a highlight reel, just so much fun, just so wonderful … but now that’s over.”

Dawson, who is planning to get married next April, said he hopes to try professional golf but also plans to continue his involvement with the U.S. Ski Team in various capacities. He’s played in several fundraising golf events for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation “and I plan to stay involved there,” he said.

He has lowered his handicap from about 18 to about 10 in a few short months and thinks he can become a scratch player soon.

“Golf is certainly a lot easier on his body,” head coach Jeff Wintersteen said. “But I’m proud of Toby for sticking around after missing the Olympic team in 2002; he wanted to be in Torino, and he skied so well. He’s such a great guy, such a great teammate and he did things his own way. He liked big events and he liked to ‘Wow!’ the crowd. What I think I may remember most is his willingness to just go for it, and his ability with off-axis [jumps] and speed. We certainly wish him all the best.”

Dawson also plans to continue a low-key effort to find his birth parents in South Korea. Dawson said he hoped the publicity he gained from his bronze-medal performance at the Torino Olympics might help him find his birth parents.

But in the aftermath of his success, he was swamped by media, mostly from South Korea, and by numerous people who made unsubstantiated claims that they were his parents.

It was more than Dawson expected, so he put the search on hold.

“They were blowing things out of proportion, a little,” he said. “I wanted things to mellow out.”

He said he plans to head to South Korea in the fall or winter to resume the search, though he knows it “could be a bit of a fiasco.”

“I’m aware there will be a lot of people claiming to be my parents,” he said. “I know it could be a trying and difficult time.”

— USSA/The Associated Press

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