Skeleton gold medallist Duff Gibson gets a kiss from wife, Jenn, after landing at the Calgary airport. (Calgary Sun/Darren Makowichuk)
Duff Gibson is going out exactly how he wanted -- on top.
The 39-year-old Calgary firefighter returned from Turin, Italy, yesterday afternoon as the gold medallist in the men's skeleton.
Then promptly announced his retirement.
"This is basically it for me," said Gibson amid a throng of media and family at the Calgary International Airport. "I will literally never slide again. It's exactly what I dreamt of. Things couldn't have gone any better and I realize in a couple of weeks, things will be back to normal.
"I'm actually letting myself enjoy this. I'm holding the medal out and signing autographs because I know this is going to be over soon."
Gibson returned home with skeleton teammates Jeff Pain and Mellisa Hollingsworth-Richards, silver and bronze medallists, respectively.
While Gibson confessed it is going to be tough to walk away from the sport he loves, he hopes to have an opportunity to teach Canada's future Olympians one day.
"I'd love to be involved somehow," Gibson said. "Maybe that will be in the form of a coach but I don't know. When they sang our national anthem at the closing ceremony, it stirred some emotion inside of me and I knew that I wanted to be involved in Vancouver's (2010 Winter Olympics) somehow.
"I pretty much knew (I'd retire) after I won. I knew I wouldn't be around in four years ... I wanted to go out on top. That's what I've done."
Pain and Hollingsworth-Richards are a different story. Both have said they will be back to compete at Vancouver 2010.