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Kelsey Serwa, Olympic ski cross champion after 3 knee surgeries, retires

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Kelsey Serwa, the Canadian who overcame Olympic heartbreak and three season-ending knee surgeries to earn ski cross gold at the PyeongChang Winter Games, has retired at age 29.

“I love racing. I love that feeling. But now for sure I’m like ‘OK, my time has come, and I’m ready for the next stages of my life,'” Serwa said, according to the Canadian Press.

Those next stages include completing her undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia Okanagan, marrying former teammate Stan Rey in the fall and getting her Masters in physiotherapy.

Serwa’s career began before ski cross debuted at the Olympics in 2010. The Alpine skiing convert earned her first X Games medal (bronze) a month before the Vancouver Games, making her a medal threat in her native British Columbia at age 20.

But Serwa was passed down the stretch in her semifinal in her Olympic debut, just missing the medal final. She ended up fifth. Serwa’s next Olympic cycle proved her most challenging. After winning X Games and the world championships in 2011, she tore her left ACL in back-to-back seasons.

Serwa made it back for the Sochi Olympics, taking silver behind countrywoman Marielle Thompson. She considered retiring a year before the PyeongChang Winter Games after requiring a third knee surgery but pressed on.

Serwa entered her third Olympics an underdog, ranking sixth in the World Cup standings with one podium (a third place) in nearly two years. But Serwa led nearly from start to finish in the final and went one-two with her often-time roommate for international competitions, countrywoman Brittany Phelan.

“Finishing second in Sochi, that was kind of my decision-maker to go one more Olympics,” Serwa said, according to the Canadian Press. “Looking back, it kind of perfectly jumped from one to the other. The Olympic gold medal is just the cherry on top of it all.”

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Hayley Wickenheiser is 7th woman elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Hayley Wickenheiser
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Hayley Wickenheiser, arguably the greatest female hockey player of all time who retired in 2017, will be the seventh female player in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The six-time Canadian Olympian (once in softball) was elected in her first year of eligibility. Wickenheiser is joined by Sergei Zubov, who earned gold at the 1992 Albertville Games with the Unified Team, two-time Czech Olympic medalist Václav Nedomanský and 1980s and ’90s NHLer Guy Carbonneau, among others.

The induction ceremony is Nov. 18 in Toronto.

Wickenheiser is the fifth Canadian female player elected after Angela James (2010), Geraldine Heaney (2013), Danielle Goyette (2017) and Jayna Hefford (2018). Americans Cammi Granato (2010) and Angela Ruggiero (2015) are also Hall of Famers.

Wickenheiser, now the Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant director of player development, earned four golds and one silver in the first five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments. She played 23 years for the Canadian national team, earning seven world titles and being named Olympic tournament MVP in 2002 and 2006.

She also carried the Canadian flag at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony and recited the Athletes’ Oath at the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony. She was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in 2014.

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Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje, world ice dance medalists, step away from competition

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Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, three-time world ice dance medalists, are stepping away from competition indefinitely.

The couple will “evaluate their future plans and will provide an update on their career later this season,” according to Skate Canada.

Weaver, 30, and Poje, 32, placed seventh at the 2014 Olympics and 2018 Olympics. They also earned world championships medals in 2014 (silver), 2015 (bronze) and 2018 (bronze) as well as back-to-back Grand Prix Final titles in 2014 and 2015.

They have competed on the top senior international level since 2007 but have largely been in the shadow of fellow Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 and 2018 Olympic champions who are also on an indefinite break from competition (possibly never to compete again).

Weaver and Poje placed fifth at worlds this past spring after skipping last fall’s Grand Prix season.

The world’s top ice dance couples are French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (four-time world champions), Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov and Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

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