Canada's Kelly VanderBeek announced her retirement Saturday, ending a 12-year career in downhill and super-G skiing.
The 29-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., retires as the most decorated female member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team and the first Canadian woman to climb onto the podium at the Lake Louise World Cup.
VanderBeek, who resides in Canmore, Alta., with her husband and five-time Olympic kayaker David Ford, returned Saturday to where he career started — Chicopee ski hill, near Kitchener — to announce her retirement.
"This is where the Olympic dream started for me, so it seems only fitting that I'm here to make this announcement," said VanderBeek. "As a ski racer I was prepared for injury but the extent of the knee injury I suffered in 2009 was bigger than I expected. I've always believed I would get back and I'm proud to say I got back.
"Unfortunately, I've decided that Sochi 2014 isn't going to be a possibility because the knee isn't quite there. But at the same time, I think of the experiences that I've had over the past three years and I wouldn't trade them for the world."
VanderBeek suffered a devastating knee injury during a training run at a World Cup event in Val d'Isere, France, in December 2009. Just months before she was due to compete at the Vancouver Olympics, she tore the posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in her left knee — in addition to suffering a tibial plateau fracture, an IT band dislodged with bone and extensive cartilage loss under her patella.