North

Olympic athlete Brendan Green credits northerners for his success

Green raced in his last biathlon on Feb. 8 at the World Cup. The 32-year-old has competed in three Olympic Games and even met his fiancée through the sport.

Retirement from sport a ‘bittersweet decision’ for athlete from Hay River, N.W.T.

Olympic biathlete Brendan Green is retiring from competition. He says he's proud that he was able to stay and train in the North until he was 18 years old. (NordicFocus)

As he looks back on his 14-year career as an Olympic biathlete, Brendan Green credits the people of the North for his success.

"I really can't say enough about Hay River and the entire North with how supportive they've been throughout my career," Green said. "So many people that have dedicated countless hours and resources... into helping me achieve my dreams."

Green skied his last race on Feb. 8 at the biathlon World Cup.

He told CBC's Loren McGinnis deciding to retire from the sport was "a bittersweet decision."



"I knew it was a decision that I was going to have to make sooner rather than later," Green said. "The last few seasons have been a little more challenging for various reasons, then this past spring and summer I had a very serious shoulder injury that involved some surgery and a fairly difficult recovery."

The 32-year-old has competed in three Olympic Games and even met his fiancée through the sport.

His first coach, the late Pat Bobinski, spoke to CBC about him right before the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

"He's focused, he's dedicated, he doesn't have an ego that he trips over. He certainly must have enough of an ego to be where he is today, but he hasn't let it get in his way. And he's got all kinds of people to help him and particularly his family."

The importance of his family's support was highlighted for Green in 2012, when he injured his back in the lead up to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He had a herniated disc that required two surgeries over the course of three months.

Brendan Green of Canada skis his way around the course during the IBU Biathlon World Cup Men's 4x7.5 KM Relay at the Whistler Olympic Park in Whistler, B.C., Sunday, March 15, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Richard Lam (The Canadian Press)

"I was able to see a couple of leading surgeons in Calgary and at that time, their diagnosis wasn't great," he said.

He thought the injury might force him into retirement.

"As an athlete, that was pretty hard to deal with, going from the best shape of your life one day, to the next day being in the hospital, being told that your career is most likely going to end."

His parents came the next day, driving 12 hours to be with him.

I really can't say enough about Hay River and the entire North with how supportive they've been throughout my career.- Brendan Green

"Throughout my entire career, my parents and family have been my number one supporters, for sure," Green said.

He's not quite sure yet what he's going to do in the next phase of his life, though he said he wants to stay involved with biathlon.

"At the end of the day, I hope that I can find a career that is as fulfilling for me as a sport was."

With files from Loren McGinnis

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