Skier Britt Janyk announces retirement
A week ago, Britt Janyk was still wrestling with the decision on whether to retire or return for another World Cup ski season.
The answer came when she realized the desire to try something different was more appealing than another season of competitive racing.
"I can confidently say I am ready to move on and ready to step into the next part of my life," Janyk said Tuesday.
"At the top of the list was being able to recognize that the excitement to try something new and go into something new was stronger than my excitement to go out for the summer and train hard and win a World Cup race."
Janyk, a 30-year-old native of Whistler, B.C., hasn't decided what career she will pursue but wants to remain involved in ski racing. She will mentor young skiers at a camp in Whistler this weekend.
"It will not be far from ski racing and skiing," she said. "The sport has given me so much. I am really excited about being able to give back to the sport and young racers, to be able to share the knowledge and experience I have."
During her 15-year career, Janyk had 18 top-10 World Cup finishes. She was on the podium twice, winning a 2007 downhill race in Aspen, Colo., just days after finishing third in a downhill at Lake Louise, Alta.
Her biggest thrill was racing in the 2010 Winter Olympics on the mountain at Whistler where she grew up and learned to ski.
"It captured almost every highlight of my career," said Janyk. "It captured it all in one moment.
"It included the people who supported me, my community, my family and friends. To be able to come into the finish with a strong result … I was very proud."
Janyk finished sixth in the downhill at the Olympics. She was 17th in the super-G and 25th in the giant slalom.
After making her announcement, Janyk received a big hug from her mother Andree. A video was played where teammates and coaches wished her well.
Retired skier Emily Brydon told Janyk to enjoy "being a woman of leisure." Janyk fought back tears when her younger brother Michael, also a national team member, appeared by video to remind her of their days growing up on the mountain.
"We've gone through a lot in our careers," said Michael. "It started with me just trying to chase you and keep up."
After a string of disappointing results, Janyk was told prior to the 2006 season she would have to pay her own way to remain part of the national team. She responded by skiing well enough to earn a berth on the team heading to the 2007 world championships, where she finished fourth in the super-giant slalom.
Alpine Canada president Max Gartner praised Janyk — a 15-time national champion — for being a consistent performer on the World Cup circuit.
"Britt has been a very good role model for other skiers. She's a team player," Gartner said in a release. "She's just such a pleasant person to be around and we wish her all the best for the future."
Michael Janyk, 29, described his sister as an "incredibly talented skier" who has had a huge influence on his career.
"My whole career I've been chasing her," he said. "Britt made the B.C. team and I wanted to make the B.C. team. Britt made the national team and I wanted to make the national team. Every step of the way she's been a huge inspiration.
"She went through ups and downs but when she came back from being off the team and was so successful, that was one of her most impressive achievements. It takes an amazing person with a lot of dedication and toughness to do that."
Britt Janyk said she's happy to walk away from her racing career healthy.
"I felt it was the right time to move on," she said. "I recognized my priorities have changed.
"Now was a good time."