After six years of competing internationally on the national team, Catrine Lavallée has announced her retirement from aerial skiing. The Montreal native is leaving the sport after a successful competitive journey, including six top 10’s on the World Cup circuit and a strong showing at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.
Here is what the 25-year-old had to say after reflecting on her outstanding career:
“It’s with a heavy heart but a clear head that I am announcing my retirement from high-level sport. The incredible freestyle skiing adventure that’s coming to an end leaves a huge mark on me: so many beautiful memories, so much hard work, so many emotions, so many encounters… so many firsts! Like a race car, I drove with the pedal to the metal until the tank ran dry. After a long, rocky, 11-year ride on the Olympic highway, I feel like taking a new exit.
I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible people by my side during this journey. Over the years, my team has had coaches and experts like Liz Gardner, Jeff Bean, Alix Renaud-Roy and many more who became mentors to me; partners such as Cascades, Antoine Laoun Eyewear, the FAEQ, Daniel Lamarre of Cirque du Soleil, the Dalbello/Marker/Volkl team, Sporten; the sport-study alliance, and the Desautels family who hosted me in their home for so many years. Without their support, the dream could not have become reality. Then there’s my own family, my blood, who agreed to take the leap into the unknown with me; and, finally, my teammates, who vividly coloured every shared moment. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
As I write these words, I realize how far I’ve come. I remember my early days as an acrobat (a three-year-old gymnast). A student athlete who hung up her gymnastics jersey after eight years to become a dance-study ballerina. I remember my many high school dance shows, as well as my mogul practice that took me at the age of 14 to the Quebec aerials team. That was when I caught freestyle fever! I remember my first flips on snow, my first spins, my first doubles, my first full Sported, my full double full in Japan, my first triples! I was North American Circuit Champion at 17, World Junior Champion at 18, Canadian Champion three years in a row, and I loved competing! In 2017, I remember making it to the national team. My first World Cup events… so intimidating, but so enthralling at the same time! My first World Championships in Spain, where I led the final and finished seventh. I was so proud! The day in 2018 when I learned I was going to the PyeongChang Olympics. Tears of joy! My memories then take me back to D-Day at the Olympic venue… my stress, my intense energy, the roar of the crowd. I remember the feeling of taking off, just for a second being in zero gravity, and then landing with all the power of a woman who has just learned to fly.
My decision to announce my retirement was not easy to make. Maybe it was the feeling of giving up after so much perseverance and discipline, of disappointing people who admire me and are rooting so hard for my success. But those same people would tell me to do what’s best for me. So it’s for me that I now choose to hang up my skis and take a new road toward my academic future. I have plenty of plans in mind, because one thing my athletic career has taught me is that you can achieve your dreams and life can become whatever you want it to be.
Coming soon to a psychologist’s practice near you!”
We wish Catrine the best of luck with her future academic endeavours!