Canadian Olympian Muenzer retires

Lori-Ann Muenzer, the Canadian cyclist who overcame the odds to win Olympic gold in Athens at 38, is leaving competitive racing.

Lori-Ann Muenzer, the Canadian cyclist whoovercame the odds to winOlympic gold in Athens at 38,is leaving competitive racing.

The Edmonton cyclist, now 40, announced her retirement on Monday.

Asked how she would like to be remembered, Muenzer said: "I think maybe as a person who has defied the odds, the odds of going in an underdog and actually doing it."

Muenzer's biggest moment on the sports stage came at the 2004 Athens Summer Games, when she won the gold medal in cycling's 500-metre sprint, blowing awaymuch younger rivals.

She won the race on a borrowed bike and without her coach, Steen Madsen, who couldn't afford to travel to the Games.

But adversity is nothing new to Muenzer.

She overcame a mountain of injuries during her 10-year career, including a broken collarbone, tendinitis in her knees, a lung infection, a broken hip and a ruptured appendix.

Motivational speakers

Sheplans to concentrate on her company, Pure Momentum Inc., which promotes Canadian female motivational speakers.

"I am ready to tackle new opportunities and apply the many lessons learned in cycling to other aspects of my life," Muenzer said.

Muenzer took the past year off cycling, saying she couldn't afford to compete, but thelayoff was fruitful. She released a book, One Gear, No Breaks, and worked on a documentary about her life.

"Taking a break has been awesome," Muenzer said. "It gives you a chance to look at things clear. After the 2005 season, it was, 'What am I doing, where am I going and how am I doing things?"'

In her career, Muenzer also won two silver and two bronze world championship medals, 11 World Cup medals, and a silver and bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. She alsowon Canadian championships 13 times.

With files from the Canadian Press