There is not much more one athlete could accomplish. Paralympic gold medalist, double silver medalist, world champion, X-Games champion, Kimberley’s Josh Dueck has won them all.
And Thursday, he announced his retirement from competitive ski racing.
Dueck said it was a decision he wrestled with.
“Using a Seinfeld analogy, I feel like I have a couple more good seasons in me,” he said. “But I want to end on a positive note.
“Skiing is my lifeblood and you’ll still see me contributing to the sport.”
Dueck says he hopes to continue to work with Alpine Canada in some capacity, likely promotion and mentorship. What that role will look like has not yet been defined.
He says he will be working on recertifying as a para-alpine coach among other things in the coming months.
“My success has been a product of what people have given to me, so I would like to give back,” he said.
Dueck says the decision was not an easy one.
“For the first time this year, I took a solid month a way. I went to Vancouver Island to reconnect with Lacey (wife) and my daughter (Nova). When you are a competitive athlete your life is movement non-stop, it’s a crazy way to live.
“I watched my daughter take her first steps a few weeks ago — it made me a little jealous — but it lit up my heart. I don’t want to miss these days with my daughter.”
“I’m retiring with a positive feeling for the sport. The decision is right for me.”
Asked if it was particularly difficult considering the world para-alpine championships are coming to Panorama this season, Dueck said definitely yes.
“It was a devastatingly difficult decision considering how much I wanted to be there. I will be there but I won’t be racing.”
The bottom line, Dueck says, is that he hasn’t been doing the training he would need to be doing in order to be successful.
“I can identify when I’m not doing what it takes. If I’m not giving it my all every day, I’m putting myself at risk. I love to hammer down, I love revving. But if there is a seed of doubt in my mind….
“It wasn’t fair to the team, for the young guys to see my approach. It’s breaking my heart. I wanted to be in Panorama. I know that hill so well I could probably cheat it and still do fairly well, but that’s not what I want. It’s not safe. It’s not smart.”
Brianne Law, athletic director for the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team, says they still hope Dueck will have a role in helping to ramp up excitement for the Panorama World Championships and that he will continue to work with Alpine Canada.
“He has been an unbelievable ambassador for the Paralympic movement.”
Dueck says he has a great deal of gratitude for the support of friends, family, sponsors and fans during his racing career.
“The strength of a nation gave me the strength to do what I did,” he said.