Matt Antoine, the 2014 Olympic skeleton bronze medalist, announced his retirement and move to coaching after winning the U.S. selection races for the upcoming World Cup season.
“Even though I know competing isn’t right for me anymore, I still feel like I have a lot to give to the sport,” the two-time Olympian said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “I want to be involved, even if it’s in a different capacity.”
Antoine’s career highlight came in Sochi, but it was tinged with sadness.
Antoine passed countryman John Daly for third place after the third run by .04. In the fourth and final run, Daly’s sled came out of the groove during the start, which sent him into a skid. Daly finished 15th, which all but guaranteed Antoine a medal.
“If I could pick anyone to beat me tonight or get a medal, I’d pick my own teammate Matt Antoine,” Daly said to NBC that night, choking back tears. “The first thing he thought about was consoling me. He said, ‘The only reason I got this medal is because of you. We’re only as good as we are because we had each other.’ He’s the most selfless person I know.”
Antoine joined 2002 Olympic gold medalist Jim Shea, his inspiration to switch from snowboarding, as the only U.S. men to earn skeleton medals since it was re-added to the program for the Salt Lake City Winter Games.
“It’s definitely the best moment of my life, without a doubt,” Antoine said that night at the Sanki Sliding Center in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
Antoine, 33, said a year later that he was diagnosed with depression and that he nearly retired after Sochi.
“Everyone, at some point, needs help,” Antoine said then, according to The Associated Press. “At first I almost felt defeated that I had to seek medical and professional help. It felt like I had lost.
“I don’t feel that way anymore.”
Antoine bought a house in Phoenix, adopted Dixie, a golden retriever, and regained control of his life. He ended his Olympic career with an 11th-place finish in PyeongChang.
Antoine was the top U.S. slider on the World Cup the last five years, finishing between third and eighth in the standings, and the only American man to make a World Cup podium in the last eight years.
At his first skeleton tryout 15 years ago, Antoine was told he wasn’t good enough and sent home. He came back the next winter and made the development team.
“I knew after one run that it was something I loved and wanted to do,” he said.
Daly’s career is likely over after he came out of retirement and placed 16th in PyeongChang. Four-time Olympian Katie Uhlaender did not slide in World Cup selection races, and it’s unclear if she will compete this season.
NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nzaccardi