Interview with FIS Athletes‘ Commission Member Mike Janyk
Three-time Olympian Mike Janyk, the leading Canadian slalom skier of his generation and member of the FIS Athletes‘ Commission since 2012, recently announced plans to retire at the end of the season.
The 31-year-old from Whistler, B.C.
FIS Newsflash took the opportunity to interview him.
Your decision to retire came before the Olympics?
I had a break at home before the Olympics and I just knew it was time. I don’t feel like I made the decision – it was just so clear it was the right time. It’s been incredibly freeing but I’ve also been riding a wave of emotions. I’ve been so blessed to live my dream as a World Cup skier. It’s been an honour to wear the Canadian Alpine Ski Team patch for 14 years.
You performed an outstanding second slalom run - clocking the fastest time - in one of your last World Cup races in Kranjska Gora where you finished 15th. How did it feel?
My second/last World Cup run felt like total freedom. I was dancing on my skis, I felt like I could do anything I wanted to, it was the feeling that makes you want to race forever. It was special to finish my career with that feeling.
After racing for so many years, what comes next?
What comes next is a great question. I've had the pleasure to do this job for the last 15 years but it involved a lot of travel, so for now I will enjoy my time at home and enjoying time with friends and family. I have a foundation that I run with Manny Osborne which I love doing so this will be something I'll focus on more and I also enjoy writing and will spend more time doing that. I love skiing, sports and working with kids so I'm sure this will be a part of my next chapter.
What will you miss most about being a professional skier?
The thing I'll miss the most about being a professional skier is competing in front of crowds. I love the feeling of having a great run and coming down to an excited crowd cheering you on. The competition has always been exciting.
How did you prepare for the time after your skiing career?
I know my interests and what excites me outside of racing and so I'll be able to find my way to my next career through following these pieces that spark my new dreams.
Any advice you would like to give to fellow athletes when ending their careers?
My advice is to listen to yourself. No one knows when the time is right for you to stop but yourself. Take the time to be with yourself and listen to what comes, be aware of your feelings around it and when the answer comes to you, you'll know it's the right time.
Nevertheless, your work within the FIS Athletes’ Commission continues …
Indeed. I’ll be continuing my work with the FIS Athletes‘ Commission and I will be seeing its members at our next meeting during the FIS Congress week in Barcelona (SPA) in early June.