Erin Mielzynski in her own way

Few athletes can boast of having participated in four presentations of the Olympic Games, but above all, few skiers from Canada can boast of having won a victory on the World Cup circuit. Erin Mielzynski nailed both and she didn’t steal it.

The 31-year-old athlete announced on April 22 that she was retiring. A decision she had been thinking about since the start of the season, but which materialized after the Beijing Olympics.

But afterwards, I said to myself : “It’s just one day, it will pass, I have to stop.” There was a lot of hesitation, a lot of reassessment. I just wanted to make sure I was really ready,” she clarified.

Once she got used to the idea, announcing it publicly relieved her of a burden. The most difficult, however, was to announce it to his relatives and his sponsors.

A veteran and undisputed leader of the women’s national team, Mielzynski isn’t stepping down because she can’t keep up. On the contrary. The Canadian had some great runs last season and had some great results, including two top 10 finishes in the second half of the calendar.

“That’s why it was such a difficult decision to make. It was important for me to leave as I wanted, being physically and mentally healthy. »

The Ontarian thinks that with her results and her outfit on the slopes, she could have continued at least another season. However, it was essential for her not to force one season too much.

I could still have given my 110%, but after four Olympic cycles, it’s been a lot of pressure and road trip away from family and friends.

Erin Mielzynski

moments of grace

Thinking back to the most glorious moments of his career, two days come to mind spontaneously.

She first talks about her victory in Ofterschwang, Germany, on March 4, 2012. The first World Cup victory for a Canadian skier in slalom since 1971. It is still the last Canadian victory to this day. Going into the second run, she was in provisional fifth place and thanks to a phenomenal second run, she managed to take the top honors.

I especially remember my coaches running up to me after the race to lift me up, my teammates were there too. I remember it was a hot day and we celebrated all day, because it was really special for our team. »

There is also the day of February 10, 2015, when she and her compatriots won the silver medal in the parallel team event at the World Championships in Colorado.

Contribute to the success of the succession

Mielzynski intends to stay in the world of alpine skiing through his personalized bib project, called “A Ripple of Light”. Established in 2021, it aims to offer help to young female skiers across Canada, who tend to drop out of the sport at a young age. Among other things, Mielzynski would like to make the sport more accessible and affordable.

“I’m proud of the project, because it took work to convince myself that I could have an impact even without achieving extraordinary results like those of Mikaela Shiffrin or Lindsey Vonn. »

She hopes that even if she no longer skis competitively, her impact will remain intact, because getting involved in the community has always been important to her.

She will still manage to stay in touch with fans through her Unspoken Bravery podcast , launched on October 19. She talks about her experiences, the lessons she learned and various tips related to athletic success.

An exemplary teammate

Erin Mielzynski’s teammate since her arrival at the World Cup in 2015, Laurence St-Germain has unconditional respect for the new retiree.

She had an impeccable work ethic, she always worked hard, she did everything perfectly. I learned a lot being his teammate,” said the Quebecer.

In recent seasons, the two skiers have been roommates most of the time. Mielzynski’s absence will create a huge void and will be difficult to fill.

It’s going to be strange not having her in the team, she’s been there since my debut. At one point, there were just two of us on the slalom team. It’s a big piece that goes away.

Laurence St-Germain, about Erin Mielzynski

“In training, she is often the best,” she adds. It was a big asset to have him with us in the team. »

The skier from Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges and the other skiers on the team have often spoken of Mielzynski as being an inspiration and a model to follow. When it was discussed during the interview, the veteran was moved to capture, after the fact, that her passage had a positive effect on the people she met.

“It makes me smile, because I don’t really pay attention to what the media or people are saying around me. Laurence told me a few times and I find it very special, she concluded. It means a lot to me and it makes me emotional to think back to my career. »

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