Road To The Olympic Games

Skiing

Skier Grandi gives up Olympic dream

Thomas Grandi, the most successful men's technical ski racer in Canadian history, announced he's retiring for a second time on Monday, 11 months before the start of the Vancouver Olympics.

Thomas Grandi, the most successful men's technical ski racer in Canadian history, is retiring for a second time.

Grandi, 36, made the announcement during a conference call Monday, a day after the end of the alpine World Cup season and 11 months before the start of the Vancouver Olympics.

The resident of Canmore, Alta., announced last July he was coming out of retirement after a year off in order to make a run at the 2010 Winter Games.

But Grandi struggled mightily this season on the World Cup circuit. In 15 slalom and giant slalom races, he made it through both runs just twice, with his best finish a 17th-place showing in a slalom in Wengen, Switzerland, in January.

"I came back because I felt the pull of the Olympics and to attempt some things I wasn't able to on the first go-around — a slalom win and an Olympic medal," Grandi said.

Grandi and his wife, cross-country skier Sara Renner, have a two-year-old daughter, and Grandi said juggling his family commitments with the work needed to be a medal contender in 2010 was too difficult.

"My last few days were spent at home with my wife and daughter and watching my daughter experience skiing for the first time," Grandi said. "This experience really made me realize that my time as an athlete is over.

"I now have a greater purpose, and that is to be a father and a husband. My wife will continue her journey to Vancouver 2010, and I will be there to support her and take care of our daughter."

In 15 World Cup season, Grandi earned nine podium finishes, including  back-to-back victories in giant slalom races in Alta Badia, Italy and Flachau, Austria in 2004.

Those are the only two wins ever earned by a Canadian man in World Cup technical events. Grandi has accounted for almost 70 per cent of the 13 World Cup medals won by Canadian men's technical racers.

With files from the Canadian Press

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