Ice dancers Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam, members of Canada's team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, have decided to call it a competitive career.
Paul and Islam are six-time members of the national team, competing at the 2014 and 2015 world championships. Their announcement comes just weeks before the 2017 Canadian championships in Ottawa.
"Skating has given me so many amazing life experiences, friendships, and opportunities I will never forget," said Paul, a 25-year-old from Midhurst, Ont. "It is with sadness that we leave the sport that we love, but we look ahead with open arms to whatever the future may hold."
The ice dancers teamed up in 2009, and went on to win bronze at the national championships in 2011, 2014 and 2015. They edged out Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier to earn a spot on the Sochi Olympic team.
Canada boasts one of the world's deepest ice dance fields, and it recently became even deeper with the return of Olympic gold and silver medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
"It has been an absolute privilege competing around the world wearing the Canadian flag," said Islam, a 26-year-old from Barrie, Ont. "Skating taught us lessons that will serve us for the rest of our lives and given us experiences and friendships we will cherish forever. We leave the competitive side of the sport with nothing but joy and excitement for the future."
Paul and Islam will return to Michigan next month to finish their degrees. They're both majoring in political science and plan to pursue post-graduate studies. They also plan to stay involved with skating, working with the ice dance program at the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie.