Time to say goodbye: Freestyle retirements 2017/18
The end of the Olympic cycle and another successful FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup season has marked the announcement of the following athletes' retirement from competitive skiing, many of whom have left a lasting impact on the sport.
Alla Tsuper (BLR)
39-year-old Alla Tsuper (BLR) has decided to retire after her comeback on tour this season that saw the Belarusian compete yet once again at the highest level marking her 6th Olympic appearance in PyeongChang, where her career’s final jump in a thrilling final placed her just outside the podium in fourth. Since her World Cup debut in 1996, Tsuper competed in 82 World Cup competitions, scoring eight victories and 27 podium finishes in total, highlighted by the FIS World Cup aerials crystal globe in 2001/02. Her career’s biggest achievement came more than a decade later when Tsuper claimed gold with her back full-full-full jump at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Watch her compete here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhXsHckMyTM
Lydia Lassila (AUS)
Another star on the aerials retirement list is the “Flying Kangaroo” and former member of the FIS Athletes’ Commission Lydia Lassila. Stepping back from competitive skiing after the Sochi 2014 with a bronze medal following her Olympic gold medal four years earlier in Vancouver, Lassila made a comeback in 2017 preparing to compete in her 5th Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.
Lassila wrapped up her successful career in style winning another five World Cups during the last two seasons to reach a total of 16 wins and 39 top 3 placings, alongside the World Cup aerials title in 2008/09, which put her name well among the greatest in the FIS Freestyle Skiing Hall of Fame.
Watch her compete here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA12dz5LU_s
Ophelie David (FRA)
After turning to ski cross in 2002, it wasn't long before France's Ophelie David became one of the sport's greatest stars. Winning three quick World Cup ski cross crystal globes as the best overall ladies' racer and a bronze medal at the 2005 FIS World Championships, the Alpe d'Huez native went on to claim victory at the FIS World Championships 2007 and solidifying a place as one of the toughest competitors in the sport.
The 41-year-old David has decided to end her long career after twelve consecutive seasons on the Audi FIS ski cross World Cup tour. With 62 career podiums, 26 of which are victories and five World Championship medals, David is by far and away the greatest ladies' ski cross racer of all time and her stats will be the benchmark by which all others are measured in the future.
Watch her compete here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkigYwD9PEw
Marie Martinod (FRA)
The French halfpipe legend Martinod has had a remarkable career resurgence leading up to her recent triumphs. After stepping back from competition following her first FIS World Cup halfpipe globe in 2004 to become a mother, Martinod returned to the pipe ahead of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, where she would go on to claim the silver medal.
The French veteran then came to rule the pipe in 2016/17 capturing her career’s second crystal globe, an achievement that was remarkable the fact that it came fully 13 years after the last time she won the title.
With a handful of X Games medals, 13 World Cup podiums, the Sierra Nevada 2017 World Championships silver, as well as the silver medal at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea, Martinod's achievement list is long and among the greatest in ladies’ halfpipe skiing.
Watch her compete here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hIuR7ebybM
Ben Valentin (FRA)
One of the most consistent riders representing the French halfpipe movement during his ten consecutive years on the halfpipe World Cup tour, Benoit Valentin has decided to turn the page following his season’s ending injury in December.
Known for his big tricks as well as friendly personality, Valentin has ten World Cup podiums on his account, with the highlight being the halfpipe crystal globe he won in 2010/11.
Watch him compete here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TYXaVgOeLk
Further retirements include: moguls - Deborah Scanzio (ITA), Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh (CAN), Audrey Robichaud (CAN), Alex-Anne Gagnon (CAN), Marc-Antoine Gagnon (CAN), Matt Joosten (CAN), Anthony Benna (FRA).