Šmigun-Vähi retires from skiing

Šmigun-Vähi races to win the gold in the 2006 Winter Olympics. Šmigun-Vähi has one three Olympic medals.

TALLINN — Estonia’s best female cross-country skier and Olympic medalist Kristina Šmigun-Vähi announced Friday that she will quit competitive sports to spend more time with her family.

The 33-year-old Šmigun-Vähi won two gold medals at the 2006 Winter Olympics in the 7.5 km + 7.5 km double pursuit and 10 km classical competitions and several medals at other competitions. After pregnancy, Šmigun-Vähi returned to the cross-country tracks for 2010 Games where she won a silver in the 10 km freestyle race.

She told the media that this is her hardest decision — whether  to keep doing sport or to dedicate herself to her family.

“I relied on my inner voice and chose the second option. I consider myself as a happy person and a successful sportswoman, and my whole life I’ve been able to do what I love,” Šmigun-Vähi said at a press conference in Tallinn on Friday.

She also said that she may go to back to school at some point, but she has not yet decided what to study or where. She said she is also considering becoming a coach or a trainer for young skiers.

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