Ottawa skier Ryan Semple calls it quits

CHRIS HOFLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:10 PM ET

OTTAWA - As he slowly recovered from a serious crash in January, Ryan Semple knew he had a decision to make on his future in the sport.

So after an 11-year career on Canada’s national alpine ski team, Semple, 30, announced Friday his retirement from competitive skiing, leaving the sport with a 12th place world ranking in super-combined skiing.

Semple, who grew up in Ottawa and recently bought a house in the city, said it was bittersweet saying goodbye to the career he had been training for since he was a toddler, highlighted by appearances in the Turin and Vancouver Olympics.

“It’s definitely an interesting feeling,” Semple said. “It’s something that you know is going to happen sometime, but (actually) doing it is a whole different ball game.

Semple hadn’t intended to hang up the skis immediately following his injury, but the difficult recovery made him start pondering his future.

“I sort of started to weigh my options (after the crash),” he said. “I didn’t want to make a decision until I was fit and I was in a healthy state of mind to make a decision like that.”

Semple says he has “come to grips” with the decision, even though it stings a bit to see friends and former teammates continue training.

“All the guys are away skiing right now and I’m at home, (but) I don’t really have a problem filling my plate with things to do,” he said.

Semple said he now has time to reflect on his career, with the Vancouver Olympics topping his list of achievements.

“I would say that’s the highlight of my career,” said Semple. “That will stay with me forever.”

Semple isn’t rushing into making plans for the next phase of his career and wants to spend time catching up with family and friends.

“You just focus so much on the sport. You have your schedule and that’s what is the most important,” he said.

“The older you get the more you need to sacrifice and basically you become selfish. (Skiing) comes first and everything else comes second.”

Semple said he would also like go back to school and hopes to stay involved in skiing, ideally in a role that allows him to mentor young athletes and help grow the sport.

“Nothing’s set in stone, just ideas that I’ve had but that I’ve never really had time for,” Semple said.

chris.hofley@sunmedia.ca


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