Speedskater and Olympic gold medallist Mathieu Giroux says he is retiring from elite-level competition to concentrate on his pharmacy studies at the University of Montreal.

"After 24 years dedicated to my career in speedskating, including 12 seasons on the national team, I am retiring from top-level sport," Giroux said Wednesday in a Speed Skating Canada release.

"I am very proud of what I've accomplished and the person I've become through all these years of training. I reached the highest peaks in my sport in both short and long track and I enjoyed the Olympic gold in Vancouver."

Giroux, a 28-year-old Montreal native, started in short track and won two bronze medals at the 2003 junior world championships plus a bronze and a silver in 2005. At the beginning of the 2008-'09 season, an ankle injury led him to long track where he immediately qualified for the World Cup circuit.

At the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Giroux won Olympic gold in the men's team pursuit with Lucas Makowsky and Denny Morrison. Giroux also competed at the 2014 Sochi Games but did not reach the podium.

"Elite sport has forged me and taught me so many lessons that will follow me all my life," Giroux said in his retirement announcement. "Sport will always be my No. 1 cure for staying healthy. I will always be passionate about amateur sport and the Olympic spirit will be lit within me all my life. I hope that the magic of the Games can transform our country, gather and invite them to excel at all levels and, of course, inspire our youth to move and dream big."

Speed Skating Canada president Marie-Claire Rouleau thanked Giroux for his contributions to the sport.

"I would also like to mention his passion and his tenacity which, despite the challenges and injuries, brought him to achieve his Olympic dream and to be part of the history with the gold medal quest in the men's team pursuit at the 2010 Olympic Games," Rouleau said.