Two-Time Olympian Lindsay Alcock Retires from Competitive Skeleton Racing
November 25, 2008
CALGARY—After battling the world’s best skeleton athletes for nearly one decade and changing the face of the sport, Lindsay Alcock is parking her sled and calling it a career, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton announced on Tuesday.
The two-time Olympian racked up 14 medals, including six trips to the top of the podium, during her six-year World Cup career. The Calgary native also claimed one world championship medal when she won the silver in 2004, the same year Alcock captured the Overall World Cup title.
“The Canadian team is extremely deep and talented and throughout our selection races over the last six weeks it was apparent to me that I just didn’t have the inner drive anymore to race at a high level, and it was time to move on,” said Alcock, who is the first of the original Canadian speed queens including Mellisa Hollingsworth and Michelle Kelly, to retire. “After 10 incredible years of racing competitively, I am leaving the program stronger than it ever has been, and I am proud to pass the gauntlet on to the new generation of young sliders.”
The 31-year-old is proof it is never too late to pursue your Olympic dream. A college track athlete, Alcock took a year off from competitive sports to work as a tour guide at Canada Olympic Park, the flagship venue of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, as a 21-year-old. During that year in 1998, she applied her track and field background to her new sport after taking a Discover skeleton course at the Park. Within three years, Alcock exploded onto the World Cup skeleton circuit and her track to the Olympics was underway.
“Lindsay completely raised the standards of the sport not only for Canadians, but for all of the world’s best skeleton athletes when she emerged onto the World Cup as one of the strongest push starters ever,” said Don Wilson, chief executive officer, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, who added Alcock posted a career-best 5.30 seconds start in Calgary during her early years on the World Cup when the rest of the world was focused on breaking the 6.0 mark. “Lindsay has been a class act, her positive attitude and presence will be greatly missed, and many of her start and track records may never be challenged.”
Pushing the veterans of the Canadian squad to be better early in her career, Alcock led the Canadian women to multiple sweeps of the World Cup podium at the turn of the century, and completed the Cinderella story in 2002 as a rookie on the World Cup when she finished in the top-six in four out of five races to accomplish the unthinkable - qualifying for the Olympic Winter Games in one season.
“It was such an incredible and nerve racking experience that year,” said Alcock, who won her first race of the season in Calgary where she was presented with an Innukshuk trophy – the symbol of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “I realized something truly special was happening that year. I put the blinders on, pushed like hell, kept posting strong results, and made myself known very quickly.”
Indeed she did. Alcock also made history at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games when she was the first skeleton athlete to hit the start line in the sport’s Olympic debut. She drew the same bib number four years later when she hit the Olympic start line in Torino, Italy.
“I am the only Canadian woman in skeleton who has been to two Olympics,” said Alcock, who acknowledged the support of ARC Energy Trust and the Starratt Team – GMP Private Client as key supporters in fueling her drive to the international podium. “To be an Olympian once is remarkable, but to go to two Olympics shows character, an ability to balance life and finances, and the longevity of excellence. It is something I am very proud of.”
While Alcock was instrumental in taking the Canadian skeleton program to a new level when she entered the sport, she now passes the torch off to a deep squad composed of veteran leadership along with youthful energy and drive. Michelle Kelly and Mellisa Hollingsworth, who were forced to reassess their training regime and adjust to the new push standards when Alcock joined the program, will welcome 21-year-old rookie, Sarah Reid, to the women’s World Cup team this year.
“Lindsay was the one person on the team I always strived to be like. She was a superb athlete, had a genuine heart and always had a smile on her face while we travelled the world together,” said Mellisa Hollingsworth, Olympic medallist and long-time friend of Alcock’s. “Lindsay mastered the balance of sport competition and life. She was a treat to travel and room with, and when she had a great race the entire World Cup tour was happy for her because she was the person that touched everyone’s life in a special way. I know she will have success in the next stage of her life, and I also know we will always have a special place for Lindsay in our program and team.”
Over the next 12 months, Alcock will be focused on sharing her Olympic journey as a motivational speaker across Canada. In the fall, she hopes to attend Chiropractic College and will also lend support to the Canadian skeleton program when called upon.
Alcock also plans to take herself, and the lucky Innukshuk she won at her first World Cup in Calgary, to cheer on the Canadian team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Whistler, B.C.
For more information on Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, please visit us at www.bobsleigh.ca on the Internet.
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