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Canadian cross-country skier Scott retires

4/13/2006

CALGARY -- Canadian cross-country skiing is losing its trailblazer.

Beckie Scott, a two-time Olympic medalist who championed drug-free competition, announced her retirement Wednesday.

"I can no longer sustain the incredible amount of focus and
dedication, and commitment, the energy and time it takes to be
successful at a high, high level," an emotional Scott told a news
conference.

"It's just time to say goodbye."

Scott was the first North American to win an Olympic medal in
cross-country skiing, taking bronze at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake
City. But after both Russians who finished ahead of Scott in the
five-kilometer race were later caught in blood doping tests, she
was eventually awarded the gold.

On Wednesday, she said the resolution of that fight was the most
satisfying part of her career off the snow -- even though she never
wanted to become known as a champion for anti-doping.

"It wasn't so much for me personally this gold medal," she
said. "What I had done was help rewrite the history books: that
these athletes were not going down in Olympic history as champions.
They were going to suffer consequences for what they'd done and I
had played a role in that, a significant role. I felt very happy
with that."

Scott says the pinnacle of her career was capturing bronze in
Salt Lake City.

"I can't remember ever feeling as happy, as thrilled with a
race as I was with that bronze medal," she said. "We celebrated
it as if it was gold."

In February, Scott was elected to represent athletes on the
International Olympic Committee. She will have full IOC membership
status during her eight-year term and hopes to be able to lobby for
more integrity in sport.