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Biathlete Imrie hangs up her rifle

Manitoba Olympian to go back to school

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Megan Imrie will study veterinary science in the fall.


Megan Imrie will study veterinary science in the fall.

Two-time Olympian Megan Imrie of Falcon Lake is at peace with her decision to retire from competitive biathlon and return to school this fall.

It wasn't such an easy decision after a disappointing competitive season in 2012-13.

"After Vancouver in 2010, I had totally committed to doing another four years with the goal of having my best performance in Sochi," Imrie, 28, said in an interview Monday after her decision was confirmed in a press release by Biathlon Canada. "That got a little bit sidetracked the year before Sochi. I had a really tough year. It's hard to say what really happened but in my opinion there was a lot of over-training and under-recovery.

"So I had just an atrocious year racing, felt exhausted all the time, couldn't perform and just was mentally fried."

The thought of quitting entered her mind at the time, but it was a step back from her sport that keyed a major bounce-back.

"I took a couple of months off (after January 2013) in the middle of race season," Imrie said. "Then I realized I still did want to do biathlon and that I could put everything I had into training and proper recovery in order to get to my best at Sochi.

"I knew then that 2014, after the Olympics, was when I was going to retire. And that turned out quite well. I had an excellent season and great results in Sochi. So I can step away from biathlon feeling confident that I did what I could do."

Imrie performed well enough to qualify for the Olympic biathlon's mass-start race. "My first and my last mass-start event," he said.

She said Monday it will go down as one of her top memories in nearly 10 years of competing at the highest level in the world.

"For sure, one of them is competing in Vancouver at the Olympics," Imrie said. "It's very rare that an athlete is able to attend a home Olympic Games. I was fortunate to not only be selected but at a young age. And it was special to have my family be able to watch me at such a big event and also to have that experience of the home Games and see Canadians really go for it and the fans and supporters. It was really exciting, a memory for a lifetime."

Another proud moment, she said, was last December, when in the run up to the Sochi Games, Canada's women's relay team finished fourth at a World Cup event in France.

"That was very special," she said. "It's difficult enough to have a great individual performance in a World Cup but to have a day where all four of your teammates also perform to that level is really incredible."

Amid all her training and competing, Imrie has managed to put together credits worth two years of university education. She will return to school this fall at the University of Victoria, where she has her sights set on veterinary science.

Riding horses and spending more time at the family ranch are high on her short-term priority list, she said.

As for things she will miss, travel will be one of them, Imrie said.

"There so many unique places in the world we get to see from a different perspective and the food and culture that goes with it," she said.

"But I am going to miss having a team. Pretty much the same people for many years. You're with these people through absolutely everything. You're travelling with them living with them, experiencing really difficult training and you see everyone at their best and their worst.

"You become really close and the camaraderie is something I'll miss the most."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 6, 2014 D2

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