World Cup ski racer Kelly VanderBeek retires
This week Canadian World Cup ski racer Kelly VanderBeek announced her retirement.
Kelly’s story is one that is close to my own heart having met her back in 1997. I then trained with her later that year and spent a memorable Christmas with her and her family. We have remained in touch ever since. I would try and go and watch her race when the World Cup came to Val d’Isère.
In 2009 I was packing the car to go and watch her race in Val d’Isère when I received a text from her. She told me that she had suffered a bad crash in one of the downhill training runs and was on her way back to Canada. My heart sank. The Olympics, in her home country, were only 2 months away. She was a strong medal contender, having come 4th in 2006 only 0.03 seconds off the bronze medal.
Kelly persevered with her recovery aiming to be back to compete to win in Russia in 2012. Sadly her knee just wasn’t keeping up with her and led her to the decision that she announced this week.
“I’ve got to the point where I have a healthy leg and I’m extremely grateful for that,” VanderBeek said. “But I’m not just looking for a knee that can get me down the mountain – I need a knee that can get me down the mountain as fast as the best in the world. Time just isn’t on my side. For me, having the chance to be in Sochi just to participate isn’t enough. I want to shoot for the fences; I want to win.”
Kelly had an incredibly successful career being the first Canadian to podium in the World Cup in Lake Louise. Along with her 4th place in the Olympics she had 3 top 3 World Cup finishes. She retires having had 20 top 10 finishes in World Cup races.
Kelly's determination and dedication made her an incredibly talented athlete. As well as being a tremendous athlete she is also a great ambassador for the sport of skiing; her love for the sport always comes shining through. Her husband David Ford reminds her “There is a difference between failure and not reaching your goals: failure would have been not trying.
I wish Kelly all the best in whatever is to come next...
“Life doesn't come with guarantees, but the courage to pursue your dreams will never leave you with less than you started.”
Kelly VanderBeek, 2013