Kristina Šmigun-Vähi announced today that she is retiring from professional sport to devote more time to her young daughter and family.
"The person standing in front of you is a very happy individual - not just a happy person but also a very successful athlete and contented mother of a young daughter. I have been fortunate in having had a fantastic life and doing something that I truly love. I have been confronted the most difficult decision of my life so far: whether to continue a successful career as an athlete or to devote more time to Viktoria Kris and my family. I decided to listen to my conscience - I choose my family and bid farewell to elite sport." said Smigun the official press release.
Kristina Smigun concluded very successful career. She is double Olympic Champion from Torino 2006, she claimed silver medal in Vancouer 2010 over 10 km F. She is also a World Champion from Val di Fiemme 2003 where she rounded up her collection of medals by two silver medals and one bronze.
"I have accomplished all of my goals as a top athlete, and I have achieved what I dreamed of as a small girl. Now I intend to leave that life behind me. I want to focus on Viktoria-Kris and my family. This will be my main area of activity in the conceivable future. In the years ahead, I also want to continue learning and studying and to find new challenges for myself.
Having competed at a world-class level after the birth of my daughter, I know that it is hard to integrate those two things. As a skier, I have always wanted to give 200%. I never settled for poor results, I also wanted to be at the top. My Olympic silver came at a price - on some days last winter I saw my child for just a few minutes. But my family is the most important thing in the world to me and with each passing day I have grown more convinced that it is more important than skiing.
In announcing my retirement from professional sport here today, I would like to thank my parents and sister for their endless patience and support; Kristjan, who has been a great manager as well as a supportive companion; and Viktoria-Kris, who gave me the power to return to competition for one more year. I would like to thank my sponsors and supporters, the Estonian Ski Association and the Estonian Olympic Committee, Estonian journalists. I would not have got where I did in sport without them.
I want to thank the entire Estonian nation and my fans from all my heart. They have cheered me on and supported me all this time, and shared in my victories and defeats.
I thank you all!"
Contributed by Krisina Smigun-Vähi