Riikka Sallinen, Finland hockey Hall of Famer, retires at age 46

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Finland forward Riikka Sallinen, who in PyeongChang became the oldest Olympic hockey medalist, has retired at age 46.

“I no longer have the burning need to really try my best to become a better player,” she said, according to media translations of a Finnish report.

Sallinen joined Finland’s national team in 1989, nine years before she would score in the first Olympic women’s hockey game at the 1998 Nagano Games (and lead the tournament in scoring with 12 points in six games). Sallinen earned a bronze medal in 1998, then retired after the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

She was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2010, but came back to the national team in 2013 after giving birth to three children. Sallinen played two more Olympics, earning bronze in PyeongChang to break countryman Teemu Selänne‘s record as the oldest Olympic hockey medalist.

She nearly capped her career with a first world title in April, but the U.S. beat host Finland in controversial fashion in the world championship final after a Finnish goal in overtime was overturned on video review.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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