Erik Guay, one of Canada's most decorated alpine skiers, decided to quit the sport immediately.
Guay made the announcement on Thursday, hours before being scheduled to compete in a World Cup event in Lake Louise, Alta. He's ready to make his farewell during Sunday's super-G.
The 37-year-old Montreal native had already said that this would be his last season but admitted that team-mate Manuel Osborne-Paradis' s violent crash on Wednesday hastened his decision.
Alpine Canada says Osborne-Paradis is "doing well" after hitting during a training race. He was taken off the hill by a helicopter and will not compete this weekend.
"Yes, it had an absolute impact," Guay told CBC Sports on Thursday.
"I was just starting a few numbers after Manny yesterday when I heard he was down and he needed to be flown in. I knew something bad had happened, and I sort of got into his situation, and I was just thinking." Oh man, if this happened to me now, I do not know if I have the energy to go through this rehab process again. And then I think it helped me get over this. "
@manny_ski Osborne Paradis is the latest ski driver to suffer a crash training. Canadian veteran removed from helicopter mountain while training with staff on Lake Louise. Sources say he is being treated on the basis by patrollers & amp; and appears to be a knee injury. pic.twitter.com/H9d5LasCKg
Guay says a high-risk sport like downhill skiing requires complete mental and physical commitment.
"I was not having as much fun as I used to, usually I like it when I go skiing and when I'm at the starting gate, and I like that anxiety and that nervous feeling, and I was not, I'm not getting any more. home, instead of being on the hill, where it should be. "
Erik Guay retires without regrets:
Guay is married and has four small children, and for him, the fascination of participating in international skiing competitions has lost its luster.
"I just find it hard to be on the road," says Guay. I find it hard to stay away [my family] all the time. And then it pulls the strings from my heart every time I go out for more than a week. "
Throughout his career, Guay has been relatively healthy in a sport that demands to take maximum risk at peak speeds.
Yes, he suffered falls, including a spectacular spill at a men's downhill event in 2017, which led him to a 115km / h lead.
And there were injuries, such as the back injury that pulled him out of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
But most of all, there were achievements. Guay may not be a household name, but he probably did more on the mountain than any Canadian skier – ever. This includes the famous members of Crazy Canuck, Steve Podborski and Ken Read.
World champion Erik Guay ran on the edge:
The numbers are impressive. The 25 podiums of the World Cup of Guay are the most practiced by a Canadian alpine skier. Guay also has two world titles – the downhill in 2011 and the super-G last year.
"There's so much catching our attention in so many different ways, so not everyone knows Erik's name," says Kelly VanderBeek, a ski analyst at CBC Sports, who calls Guay "Wayne Gretzky's ski."
"I am exceptionally sad with [the news of his retirement], just because he is better than any other male skier we have ever had.
VanderBeek says Guay's high-profile success over so many years is unparalleled. While other Canadian skiers performed at a similar level, VanderBeek emphasizes that Guay did it more consistently and has the "X factor."
No Olympic medal
The only thing Guay does not have is an Olympic medal. His best Olympic result was fourth in Super G at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy. He lost the podium for 1-10 of a second.
Lack of success on the biggest stage in the world may have diminished its potential star power, but that never seemed to bother him.
"Often we appear in these Olympics and it is supposed to be the biggest event on Earth, but in reality, it's a bit of a Mickey Mouse show," he said in an interview in 2017.
Erik Guay retires: "It does not make sense to risk"
Going to retirement, your opinion has not changed.
"I have so many great memories, and you know, I think I'm leaving the sport with a really positive vibe."
Guay was always about winning, whatever the race, and leaving everything on top of the hill.
"I want to be competitive, but I'm not here to waste my time, I do not want to finish in 20th year-round.
But his legacy is more than podiums or medals.
Erik Guay: "When Manny fell, I thought I should get off the elevator."
"For me, personally, I think it really started with the Crazy Canucks. [they] set the bar for Canadian ski runs. That was inspiring for me, "says Guay.
"And I just hope I can return the favor. I hope I have inspired some young riders to improve and continue to pursue their goals of being in the World Cup, winning the World Cup and representing our country everywhere. the legacy that I would like to leave. "